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L I E) RAR.Y 

OF THE 

UN IVLR.S1TY 

or ILLINOIS 

823 
M76b 
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THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 



31 ffialc of tl)c last Ciniturg. 



BY THE 

HON. MRS. ALFEED MONTGOMERY, 

AUTHOR OF " ASHTON HALL," POEMS, ETC. 



Vengeance is mine ; 1 will repay, saith the Lord." 

Deut. xxxii. 35; Remans xii. 19 ; Hebrews x. 30. 



IN TWO VOLUMES.— VOL. I. 




LONDON: 

RICHARD BENTLEY, 8, NEW BURLINGTON STREET, 

^ublisljer m ©rtiinars to l^ct fHajcstg. 

1865. 



[_The right of Translation is reserved.] 



LONDON : PKINTED BY WILLtAM CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFOKD STRKBT 
AND CHARING CfiOSS. 






^ DEDICATION. 



THESE VOLUMES ARE DEDICATED 

To the beloved memory of a near relative, 

. in whose dear society the Author first 

visited the scenes in which this story is 

^- laid ; and to whom, half in jest, more than 
twenty years ago, the promise was given 

'-. of writing a romance that should illustrate 
them. 

Hers was a mind in which the freshness 
of youth continued undiminished by ad- 
vancing years, and the purity and delicacy 

^ : of her superior nature remained untarnished 
by the world. She possessed a depth of 
thought, and a versatility of talent, which 



IV DEDICATION. 

were only equalled by lier exquisite mo- 
desty. 

Wise, and yet tender; gentle, yet firm; 
she was the truest of women, and the 

MOST FAITHFUL OF FRIENDS. 

Her sweet face was the reflex of her soul. 
The grave has closed over all ; but the 
remembrance can never perish. " Le passe 
n'est pas mort ; il n'est qu'absent." 



Jfield Lodge, Crawley, 
August 8, 1865./^ 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

PACK 

EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE 1 



CHAPTER II. 

THE HALL AND THE CASTLE 20 

CHAPTER III. 

DOMESTIC 43 

CHAPTER IV. 

A day's PLEASURE 67 

CHAPTER V. 

THE PRODIGAL AT HOME 89 

CHAPTER VI. 

THE fisherman's IIUT 114 

CHAPTER VII. 

AWAY TO THE SOUTH .. .. 158 

VOL. I. h 



VI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

PAGE 

AN OLD FRIEND 166 

CHAPTER IX. 

WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM .. .. ^ 191 

CHAPTER X. 

HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE 219 

CHAPTER XL 

THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD 257 

CHAPTER XII. 

THE ANGEL OF THE HOUSE 287 



THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 



CHAPTER I. 

EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 

Maxy years ago, near the eastern coast of 
England, there stood (and there still stand), 
on the opposite shores of a wood-encircled 
lake, two wealthy mansions, the property 
of two brothers. 

Nutley Hall belonged to the representa- 
tive of the elder branch of the family of 
Baron Clifford. It stood in a wide park- 
like domain, raised a little above the low 
shore of the lake, which reflected its image 
on its bosom, and surromided and almost 
embedded in magnificent trees. 

There was somethiLg melancholy about 

VOL. I. ,, B 



2 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

the old place, in spite of the well-tended 
gardens, and the southern sun streaming on 
the lichen-covered walls. It was a silent 
spot, buried in wood, glooming over the 
deep waters of the lake, and enlivened by 
few sounds beyond the warbling of the 
forest birds, or the occasional scream of the 
wild swans. 

The trees had been cleared away near 
the water, and when the long line of golden 
light from the setting sun changed into pale 
yellow, and died off in paler green, there 
might often be seen the silent heron stand- 
ing on one leg, by the side of a mossy 
stone, and gazing with unwearied patience 
into the still waters, watching motionless 
for his prey. Or, in the hot noontide, with 
a shrill cry, the wildfowl would rise from 
the surface of the lake, and wrinkling its 
placid face into countless eddies by the 
sweep of their wings, traverse it for several 
yards, and then drop silently and simulta- 
neously upon its bosom. 

There was little to break the monotony 
of wood and water, but here and there you 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 3 

caught a glimpse of a low range of hills in 
the distance, and on the other side of the 
walled-in road, which dammed the waters 
at the head of the lake, rose a grassy mound, 
surmounted by the ruins of an old tower, 
formerly a fortress belonging to the baron's 
family in wilder times than those of the 
Lord Clifford of our story. 

In somewhat striking contrast with this 
wild and sylvan spot, was the scene of in- 
tense refinement and domestic peace which 
struck the spectator's eye on the other side 
of the deep haw-haw that divided the gar- 
den from the park. Beneath the spreading 
boughs of a huge cedar was a group that 
Watteau might have painted, only that 
there was more of family feeling and less 
of worldly effect than is usually found in 
the works of that artist. 

Eeclining on a long low couch was a 
lady, from whose sweet, earnest face the 
gradual approaches of a fatal disease had 
failed to efface the original beauty. The 
thick masses of raven hair seemed like an 
ebony frame to the white ivory of her fore- 



4 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

head ; and beneath that placid brow lay the 
deep eyes that had not yet lost their Italian 
lustre beneath England's grey skies. 

Angela, Lord Clifford's wife, was a rela- 
tion of the princely house of Orsini, who, 
having been left an orphan while still 
very young, had been educated by the late 
Princess Orsini with her own children. 
She had married Lord Clifford in Eome, 
where his great wealth, and the common 
faith of the two families, had been motives 
cogent enough to induce Angela's relatives 
to put aside the objections arising from the 
immense distance (in those days, when rail- 
ways and steam-boats were unknown) of the 
country to which their adopted daughter 
was to be exiled. 

The present Princess Orsini, seated in an 
arm-chair opposite Angela, was the wife of 
the young Duke of Orsini, with whom 
Angela had been brought up, and had 
learnt to love almost as an elder brother, 
although the real relationship was but a 
distant one. The princess was a woman of 
about thirty, French by birth, and with 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 5 

much more liveliness of manners, but with 
less beauty of person, than her Italian friend. 
She held in her hand a piece of embroidery, 
and her busy fingers moved deftly, without 
the occupation interrupting her conversa- 
tion. 

At a little distance from the two ladies, 
and seated close to the haw-haw, with their 
feet hanging over the wall, were a lovely 
boy and girl. Rose Clifford, in hair and 
complexion was a true Saxon maiden, but 
in strange contrast with her fair skin and 
golden hair she had got her mother's deep 
Italian eyes. 

Andrea Orsini was the very picture of a 
Roman boy : brown skin of the finest grain, 
and yet not brown, but rather golden ; 
dark locks, that at their tips had caught 
and imprisoned the rays of the sun ; red, 
full lips, and teeth made for laughter. 
Such was the infant heir of the house of 
Orsini. 

As little Rose Clifford was sHghtly ner- 
vous at having to share Andrea's favourite 
position of sitting on the wall of the haw- 



b THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

haw, she could only be induced to do &o by 
Andrea's keeping his arm round her waist 
as a jDrotection ; and while in this attitude the 
children were overheard by their parents in 
earnest conversation. 

" Rosy, darling, I don't understand how 
it is that in your house, though it is so 
large and beautiful, you have no statue of 
Our Lady on the staircase, with a lamp 
burning before it. Why, Rosy, in the 
Orsini Palace, at Rome, there is one on 
every landing. And there is always one 
in all the houses, particularly in a house 
like ours." 

^' Well, Andy, dear, you know the fact 
is, this country is not Catholic ; and it is 
not very long ago that we used to be afraid 
(so papa has told me), even to have a pries 
in our house, or to have mass. So that is 
why, Andy, we do not put sacred objects 
much about the house. But you know in 
mamma's room and in mine we are not 
afraid, and there are plenty there." 

" I tell you what it is," said Andrea, 
looking grave, " I do not like you living in 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 7 

a country where people are afraid to do 
what they like in our holy religion. You 
know, Eosy^ you are to come away with 
me, and be my wife in the Orsini Palace, 
and I think the sooner we settle about it 
the better. This England is not the place 
for us, I shall carry you away with me." 

These last words were said with a toss of 
the rich dark curls_, and a flash from those 
beautiful eyes, that made Kosy almost feel 
as if Andrea were angry. Her little cheeks 
turned crimson, and she said very gravely, 

" I think, Andrea, we had better not talk 
about that; and, besides, I love my own 
country in spite of all you say." 

Andrea drew his arm tighter round 
Rosy's waist, and turning his face full upon 
her, said, 

" But you will, Rosy, be my wife : you 
know you must, Rosy ; it is all settled, and 
I will not have any wife but you ." 

Rosy's hand began to push away that of 
the little boy that was clinging closer round 
her, and with affronted dignity she replied — 

" Please, Andrea, say nothing more 



8 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

about it, and let us talk of something 
else." 

With one bound Andrea had quitted his 
companion, even at the risk of pushing 
Eosy off her insecure seat into the haw- 
haw ; and, scarlet with emotion, and with 
tears in his eyes, he rushed away to his 
mother's side. 

" Mamma mia," he exclaimed, " Eosy says 
she will not be my wife, she will not leave 
this horrid England, she will not come to 
the Palazzo Orsini. But she will, will she 
not ? For you know, mamma mia, I must 
marry Eosy ; I cannot live without her." 

The last words were said in softer tones, 
and with a burst of tears the little head was 
hid in his mother's arms. 

Lady Clifford looked towards Eosy sitting 
on the edge of the haw-haw, and perceived 
that she, too, was overcome with emotion ; 
but in her case it was from terror, and, 
springing up to her rescue, Lady Clifford 
lifted the child from the ground, and gently 
asked what it all meant. 

The Princess Orsini, well used to Andrea's 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 9 

passionate bursts of feeling, was calmly 
soothing her little son, and kissing away 
the big tears. 

" Dear Andrea, you must not tease Rosy 
by asking her to promise you things which 
cannot happen for many years. You must 
be gentle and kind to her, and so make her 
love you ; and it will be quite soon enough 
to talk about her being your wife in ten 
years' time, for you know you are now only 
eleven." 

" But do you think then, mamma mia. 
Rosy will leave this England, where the sky 
is never blue, and the sun never hot, and 
come to our dear Italy with me ?" 

'' I hope so, my darling child," responded 
the princess, with a smile. " But say no 
more about it to her just now. You can 
talk to me about it whenever you please, 
but you will only frighten poor Rosy if 
you are so violent." 

Lady Clifford, meanwhile, was reassuring 
Rosy ; and as the little girl was very fond 
of her young friend, and had no other objec- 
tion to these childish notions about becom- 



10 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

ing the future Princess Orsini than arose 
from a shght maidenly reserve, and a feeling 
that Andrea was rather pushing, she was 
very ready to be kissed and make it up, and 
then both the little lovers, hand in hand, 
were sent on a run down the broad garden- 
walk, to meet Father Netherby and Padre 
Tomaso, who were, returning from the 
village. 

When the ladies had regained their seats, 
after this brief episode, Lady Clifford looked 
silently, but with a smile, full into the prin- 
cess's face. Their eyes met, and both laughed 
out at the amusing scene of Andrea's vehe- 
mence about his little sweetheart, who was 
only ten and a half, and, consequently, as 
young to be affianced as he was to be think- 
ing of such matters. 

" Do you really think, Louise," said Lady 
Clifford to the princess, " that we shall ever 
succeed in bringing about this alliance, 
which our children seem to have as much at 
heart as their mothers ? Are you sure the 
prince wishes it as much as you do ?" 

" Oh ! Alfonso desires nothing more," 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 11 

replied the princess. " It was only the 
other day when he and your husband were 
coming down to the door, where the car- 
riage was waiting, in Paris, to take us to 
tlie coast, that he said to me, ' Do what 
you can, carissima, to enHst Angela in 
our cause, and I, meanwhile, will talk 
to Clifford.'" 

Angela sat silent for a few moments, her 
eyes fixed on the western sky, where the 
orange glories of the sunset were becoming 
streaked with deep red as the sun sank be- 
hind the trees ; then, without looking at the 
princess, she said — 

" You may imagine, dear Louise, that, 
were the case reversed, and that I gave a 
daughter of mine, born and nurtured in 
Italy, to be exiled into this cold country, 
where we, with our faith and our politics, 
nearly always have to suffer ; and that your 
son were English, I could not do it. You 
understand me, dear. My own fate has not 
been an unhappy one. No woman with 
such a husband as dear George has been to 
me can ever have a right to complain. But 



12 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

still, look at what England has done for 
me ! At most I may expect to see two 
more winters, and then the chill that has 
passed from these grey mists into my Italian 
blood, that had been fed by the richest sun- 
light, will have done its work, and little 
Rosy will be an orphan." 

" Dear Angela, I cannot bear to hear 
you say it. My dearest, you are better : I 
see an improvement even since I came. You 
will soon regain your strength." 

" You see an improvement, Louise, be- 
cause we are now enjoying our brief Eng- 
lish summer. But when this mass of forest 
land lays down its green and brown vesture 
on the damp earth, and that great lake 
sends up its clammy mists and enters the 
house, and creeps into my window, and 
catches my breath, like the foretaste of the 
tomb, then my cough will return, and I 
shall continue to get weaker and thinner. 
No, Louise, dear, I must not shut my eyes 
to the truth — nor yours — because you will 
help me to meet that death I have long 
ceased to dread. But I must keep it from 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 13 

George as long as possible, for I think it 
would break bis beart." 

" Does be suspect, Angela, bow ill you 
tbink yourself?" 

Lady Clifford paused before replying, 
and tben said — 

. " I cannot tell, Louise. Sometimes I 
tbink be does. He talks of taking me to 
Eome tins winter. I wisb it were possible, 
Louise. I must tell you wbat I dread," 
exclaimed Lady Clifford, as sbe bent for- 
wards, and laying ber band on tbc princess' 
arm, made ber drop ber work and look up. 
*' If I die, and dear George follows me 
before Rose is married, or is of age, I fear 
— I dread — be will appoint her uncle, Roger 
Clifford, to be her guardian. Louise," she 
said, dropping ber voice, and doubling her 
pressure on ber relative's arm, " / detest 



tJtat man 



" Why is it, Angela, you shrink so from 
liim ?" replied the princess, with a slight 
tone in her voice as if Angela's feelings 
seemed to ber without just ground. " I 
hope you are not going to tell me he has. 



14 THE BUCKLYX SHAia. 

the ' evil eye.' You know I am French, 
cannot adopt all your Italian superstitions 
about that/' 

" Whether he has the evil eye or not, I 
neither know nor care. But I am sure he 
has a very sinister dark nature, and I 
fear that in his heart he has renounced the 
Faith." 

" Oh, Angela, impossible !" 

" Listen, Louise ! I have told you I do 
not believe I have many years to live ; can 
you think that, with that thought ever before 
me, I would dare to speak against Eoger 
Cliiford, were it not that my convictions on 
the subject are so strong that I feel I ought, 
as a duty to my child, to communicate them 
to you, and through you to Alfonso in my 
child's interest ?" 

'' If your suppositions be correct, Angela," 
said the princes^, " how dreadful for these 
two motherless children of his !" How old 
are they now ?" 

" Teresa is rather more than thirteen, and 
a most interesting child. She is at a convent 
school in Paris. Her father talks of having 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 15 

her home, but I trust she will, for the 
present, be left where she is. Eobert is 
much older; he was seventeen his last 
birthday, and is left also in Paris, with a 
tutor." 

" Have you spoken to George of this ?" 
said the princess. 

''I have tried, but it is impossible. He 
thinks I am prejudiced. And you know, 
dear Louise, the very fact of my being a 
foreigner makes me doubly afraid of shock- 
ing my dear husband's feelings about any 
of his family ; or seeming to misunderstand 
the character of those around me. I would 
not do so even to you were it not for Rose's 
sake. I wish you w^ere likely yourself to 
see enough of Roger Clifford to judge of 
him. You would feel as I do, and, like me, 
you would be tempted to believe at least 
some of the dark stories of his gambling 
and profligate habits when he is abroad. 
You are aware that he is scarcely ever at 
Raymond Castle." 

" Will he be there before I leave ?" 

'' I think it probable. He told George 



16 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

that he would find him here on his return 
from Paris." 

" Angela, docs he know that George and 
Alfonso have gone to Yienna ? If what 
you say be true, if, in short, supposing your 
doubts about the unhappy man's faith to 
have any foundation, it would be dreadful 
for him to guess, or in any way to arrive at 
the fact that your husband and mine are 
gone on a secret mission from Eome to the 
Prince. If it be true that Eoger has em- 
braced the religion of the state, he can only 
have done so to curry favour with the House 
of Hanover, and from that moment he 
becomes a dangerous neighbour to us." 

" I do not think there is any fear of that, 
for I believe Roger to be now on his way 
back from Spain ; consequently they will not 
cross each other's path. And when they 
all return, there can be no occasion for 
saying more than that after seeing you and 
Andrea safe on your way to the coast, our 
husbands remained for a time in Paris. 
This journey to Yienna is known only to us 
two." 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 17 

*' Thank God for tliat !" exclaimed Louise. 
" But when our husbands are returned, I 
should rather like, Angela, to meet Roger 
here. I might be of use in aiding you to 
some more decided convictions one way or 
the other. If I judge him differently from 
you it will be a relief to you to be encouraged 
in changing your opinion. If I, too, think 
him bad and false, surely we ought to warn 
George not to place confidence in one who 
may betray us. But all this while, dear 
Angela," continued the princess, trying to 
brighten up herself, and to cheer her friend, 
" I do not know why we should suppose that 
even., dearest — which God forbid ! — you are 
taken away early to the world of rest and 
peace, we should think George is not to live 
to see Rose married, and a mother." 

'* Neither can I say, Louisa, why I should 
think so. But love sometimes seems to 
endow us with something of the spirit of 
prophecy. It foresees what it dreads. It 
divines what it cannot know. You always 
told me I was too imaginative. When I 
was in Italy, in my girlhood, I never knew 

VOL. I. C 



18 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

what apprehension was. Whether it be 
that this silent land, this dear sad home of 
my adoption, has imparted some of its 
seriousness to my nature, I cannot tell ; but 
certainly of late years I seem to have 
developed in myself a strange faculty of 
guessing — almost knowing — what vnll be. 
Perhaps it is all fancy. Perhaps, Louise, it 
is the shadow of the future world, falling 
like light upon the present life, and enabling 
me to see more clearly. For, dear Louise, 
the shadows of heaven are brighter than the 
noonday of this world." 

The princess bent forward to kiss the 
beautiful face of the speaker, that was 
lighted up with the enthusiasm of her 
southern nature. The tears were in her 
eyes as she said : 

" Angela, I will not gainsay you. I love 
you too dearly to bear to think of losing 
you ; I would tie your wings if I could. As 
it is, I can only pray to God to spare you to 
us yet, and entreat you to do all you can to 
preserve your invaluable health, and to 
consent to live." 



EARLY DAYS AND FIRST LOVE. 19 

Angela raised her eyes to the red disc of 
the evening sun. The great globe seemed 
to quiver as she gazed upon it through her 
tears, and she murmured, "God's dear will 
be done." The sun sank behind the forest, 
and the blue mists of evening fell like a 
shroud over the landscape. 



20 THE BUCKLTX SHAIG. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE HALL AND THE CASTLE. 

Eaymond Castle, the property of Eoger 
Clifford, could be seen from the windows of 
Nutley Hall when autumn left, the trees 
bare; and from one part of the park its 
tower and broad frontage was full in view, 
so that when Angela had first married and 
come to England, she had been in the 
habit of establishing a variety of signals 
with her sister-in-law, Mrs. Clifford, by 
means of a flagstaff and coloured flags, with 
reference to their arrangements for meeting 
and riding together in the course of each 
day. 

This, perhaps, had been the happiest 



THE HALL AND TUE CASTLE. 21 

portion of Angela's married life, although 
she was not yet blessed with the little rose- 
bud now unfolding beneath her care ; for 
Angela had been married eight years be- 
fore her only child was born. But at the 
period of which we speak, she was still in 
the enjoyment of the health and spirits of 
youth, and spite of the difficulties of travel- 
ling in those days, her devoted husband 
had generally succeeded in taking her to 
Italy to breathe her native air at least 
every third winter. On one of these occa- 
sions Mrs. Clifford had accompanied Angela ; 
and it was there that her second child, a 
girl, was prematurely born, and the young 
mother died in her confinement. 

Roger Clifford had not accompanied his 
wife. The then dissolute court in Paris, 
where his high connections and his love of 
play procured him free access, had greater 
attractions for Roger than travelling 
through Italy with a wife in delicate 
health, and whose tastes were the very 
opposite to his own. 

Angela had nursed her sister-in-law with 



22 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

devoted affection, and as it was in the old 
feudal castle of Bracciano * that Mrs. Clif- 
ford had given birth to the little Teresa, it 
was near the shores of a lake far wilder 
than that of her married home^ that the 
young wife and mother lay buried. Her 
life would have been a very unhappy one, 
had it not been that the sweetness and 
brightness of her nature seemed to carry 
her unscathed through the sharpest sor- 
rows. She bore her husband's constant 
neglect with such unalterable calm, that 
sometimes Angela's hot Italian nature found 
it difficult not to be angry with the English 
woman's passive endurance. But when 
Mildred would perceive the flush of anger 
glowing through the clear, dead white of 
Angela's foreign complexion, she would 
gently slide up to her sister-in-law, and 
whisper with a smile aud a tear : 

" I should have no cross if I had not 

* The castle of Bracciano was built by the Orsini. 
They sold it, towards the close of the eighteenth 
century, to the Odescalchis, in whose possession it 
was when the author visited it. Since then it has 
again changed hands. 



THE UALL AND THE CASTLE. 23 

this ; and if I liad no cross here, bow could 
I hope for a hapjDy death ?" 

'* Oh, Mildred !" Angela would exclaim, 
"you are always talkmg of death. Give 
me life — life w^th its crown of gold — life 
with its ringing laugh, and its buoyant 
step, and its hand full of flow^ers — tran- 
quil and pure, but joyous and hopeful. 
No, Mildred, I cannot understand you. I 
feel I must live before I die — I must taste 
and know all life is, and gives." 

" Ah, Angela ! it were better to die," 
Mildred replied, "before the drop of in- 
tolerable bitterness had fallen into the cup 
of life : it were better to die than live to 
exclaim in a moment of temptation, ' I can- 
not bear more !' This will hardly happen 
to you, Angela ; it might, you know, to 
me." And now changing her tone, she 
said, " Will you put on your hat and come 
out with me? I am going to the Capu- 
chin Convent half an hour before the Ave 
Maria, and that will do both of us more 
good than all you and I are likely to say 
about life and death !" , 



24 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

In this way Angela would perceive that 
her English sister-in-law's heroic patience 
sprang from a better source than indif- 
ference ; but while she loved Mildred more, 
she grew in detestation of Roger Clifford. 

Mildred Clifford's death was the first 
severe sorrow Angela had ever known, and 
it told greatly on her character, for while it 
threw a shade of sadness over her impetu- 
ous nature, it called forth greater depths 
of tenderness than she had ever yet 
evinced. 

Roger Clifford was summoned from Paris 
by the sad news; but he did not reach 
Bracciano till long after the remains of his 
young wife were laid in the family vault, 
in a chapel built by the Orsinis in the 
Capuchin Church. 

Roger was quiet, grave, and respectable 
in his grief ; and when Angela complained 
to her husband that he seemed to feel less 
than might have been expected, Lord Clif- 
ford was always ready with excuses and 
explanations ; and assured Angela that his 
brother was one *of those who feel things 



THE HALL AND THE CASTLE. io 

deeply and long-, though making little out- 
ward show of grief. 

The little infant had been christened 
Teresa by the dying mother's special re- 
quest. " She will need courage in the life 
that lies before her, and therefore I put her 
under the special protection of that great 
saint and courageous woman." 

Little Robert Clifford had been left at 
Raymond Castle under the care of a distant 
female relative, who went to take up her 
abode there during Mr. and Mrs. Clifford's 
absence. 

Angela devoted herself absorbingly to 
the care of the little infant, and it was in 
watching the motherless babe that she first, 
felt the intensity of desire to become a 
mother herself. 

As soon as the breath of spring was 
filled with the perfume of the blue violets 
that fringed the lake of Bracciano, it was 
decided that Lord and Lady CHfford should 
return to England, taking with them the 
little Teresa. 

Both Angela and her husband acutely 



26 - THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

felt the sadness of leaving the tomb of 
the poor English lady, who lay so far away 
from her own land and her own people ; 
and Lord Clifford had even suggested to 
Roger that the body should be removed to 
the family vault at Nutley ; but Roger had 
replied that his nerves would not bear the 
anxiety of fancying the many accidents that 
might befall the sacred deposit in so long 
and perilous a journey. 

Angela was inclined to be doubtful of 
the sincerity of this reply, but she did not 
venture to contest it, and she soothed her 
grief by occupying herself, with Roger's 
authority, in choosing the designs and 
superintending the execution of a beautiful 
monument to the memory of her friend. 

When Lord and Lady Clifford returned 
to Nutley, they were greatly in hope that 
Roger would settle quietly at Raymond 
Castle, and content himself with the society 
of his family and the care of his children ; 
but this was not the case. 

Although Raymond Castle was by far 
the finest house of the two, the estate and 



THE HALL AND THE CASTLE. 27 

property connected with it was less than 
one-fourth in value to that attached to 
Nutley Hall, and belonging to the elder 
brother. 

Roger was an ambitious man, and it was 
easy enough for any one less attached to 
him than Lord Clifford to perceive that it 
was jealousy of his elder brother that kept 
him so constantly absent from his own 
estate. During, however, the first few 
months of his widowhood he seemed to 
consider it his duty to remain at home, 
and it was then that Angela first had full 
opportunity of studying the character of her 
brother-in-law. There was a mysterious 
charm in his manner which fascinated most 
persons, although on Angela it seemed to 
produce the contrary effect. He was very 
different from his elder brother, and the 
difference was increased by his having 
lived a great deal abroad, and contracted 
something foreign in his habits and appear- 
ance. 

Lord Clifford had a frank, fair counte- 
nance, with a clear blue eye,, and auburn 



28 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

hair. His complexion was almost too deli- 
cate for a man, and there was apt to be a 
hectic colour in his cheeks. He was ex- 
tremely graceful, but perhaps he was too 
delicately formed for the perfection of 
manly beauty. His health had never been 
strong, but yet he was a thorough English- 
man in his love of sport, and was passion- 
ately attached to his country and his home. 
Eoger was taller and darker than his 
brother, and looked older. He had long 
almond-shaped, deep-set eyes, a dark pen- 
cilled brow, slightly arched. His lips were 
delicately cut, but thin and flexible ; and 
sometimes he wore a fixed smile, not in 
harmony with the rest of his expression, 
and with the stern keenness of his eye. 
Angela would often speak of it as " that 
cruel smile," and said that it froze her 
blood. Roger was a musician, and had an 
exquisite voice. He was an accomplished 
scholar, and spoke French, Italian, and 
Spanish equally well. His tastes were ex- 
pensive, and he would say that unless he 
could afford to fit up his gloomy old castle 



THE HALL AND THE CASTLE. 29 

after his own fancy, and fill it with guests, 
he never would long reside there. 

Xo one, however, but its discontented 
master thought Eaymond Castle gloomy. 
It stood on high ground, overlooking the 
forest lands, in the centre of which Nutley 
Hall lay buried, and commanding the whole 
range of those blue hills but barely visible 
between the trees at the latter place. 

The park was large, and beautifully laid 
out, with a great expanse of green sward 
in front of the castle, sloping down to 
several small ponds gleaming in the sun- 
shine, like islets of silver. Beyond that 
was woodland and hill, and long lines of 
purple distance to the west. Near the 
castle was a group of tall Scotch firs, bend- 
ing a little out of the perpendicular, and 
standing like sentinels alone on the place. 
Further down the slope were magnificent 
oaks, elms, and chestnuts, silver fir, and 
birch. Through a hanging wood to the 
north lay two wide paths, purposely cut 
through the thicket to admit of the view of 
the hills beyond. 



30 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

The road wound from the house down- 
hill, past the small fish ponds, and through 
groups of trees to the lodge gate out into 
the high-road, which to the north led to 
the village of Nutley, and to the south to 
the market town of Blackdean. 

The castle entrance was beneath the great 
clock-tower, through Norman arches ; and 
as you stood just outside the tower at the 
east, the park, and wood and hills, and the 
Scotch firs standing with red stems against 
the western sky, formed as lovely a picture, 
framed by the stonework of the arch, as it 
was possible to imagine. 

In Nutley Hall there was a chapel at the 
top of the house, which had been used in 
the time of the persecution of the Catholics. 
This chapel was panelled with dark oak 
rather more than half-way up the walls, 
and behind the altar was a sliding panel, 
known only to Lord Clifford and a few of 
the old domestics, where in former days the 
priest not unfrequently lay concealed in 
the rare occasions when he had been able, 
in disguise and through many perils, to 



THE HALL AXD THE CASTLE. 31 

come and administer the sacraments and 
consolations of the faith to the present 
baron's not very distant ancestors. 

There once had been a chapel at Ray- 
mond Castle also, but it had been long 
disused, and now served only as a lumber- 
room, or as a studio to an Italian artist, 
who sometimes accompanied Roger Clifford 
on his return from the Continent for a few 
summer months at the castle. Mrs. Clifford 
had had a small oratory fitted up for her 
own use ; and Teresa's old nurse, Mrs. 
Dorothy, had always kept it in good order 
and well dusted, " for the dear child," she 
would say, " when she shall be old enough 
to know the blessings of her mother's faith." 
The other servants would sometimes remon- 
strate with Mrs. Dorothy, as she was gene- 
rally called, that she spoke as if the mother's 
faith were not the father's also. 

Mrs. Dorothy never made any reply, but 
a close observer would see that on those 
occasions she slightly compressed her lips. 

One thing was certain. It was Roger 
himself who had done away with the chapel, 



32 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

and had, as lie said for the greater conve- 
nience of others, removed the v/hole furni- 
ture to a room at the top of a small house 
in the village. You might have passed it 
a hundred times and never have guessed 
that behind those very ordinary-looking 
windows, in that modest-looking white 
house, not much bigger than a cottage, 
there crept, Sundays and feast-days, through- 
out the year, a quiet group of devout fol- 
lowers of the faith of their forefathers. 

The priest lived in the lower part of the 
house, and, at the time of our story, was a 
Jesuit father, the Father Netherby that we 
have already heard of as coming from the 
village, with Andrew Orsini's Italian tutor 
and chaplain to the family, Padre Tomaso. 

Shortly after his wife's death, Eoger 
decided on breaking up his establishment at 
Raymond Castle, and sending little Robert, 
then about eight years old, to school. 

Lord Clifford, as well as Angela, had 
been much disturbed by this arrangement, 
and had entreated Roger to let his son be 
entrusted to their care, as well as Teresa. 



THE HALL AND THE CASTLE. 33 

Roger had been profuse in his expressions 
of gratitude, but firm in his refusaL He 
had put it on the pretext that his son being 
heir to a very much smaller property than 
that of Nutley Hall, he would not have him 
brought up iri such magnificence. 

'' Moreover," added he, " Lady Clifford 
will have sons of her own, and at least my 
boy shall be the heir in the house where 
he is educated. I am too thankful for 
Angela's offer about my poor little girl. I 
could not leave her in better hands. And 
it is not of the same importance for her, at 
least for the next few years, as she never 
can be a personage of much consideration 
in either house." 

Roger therefore sent off his son and heir 
to a distance, and from thence he was trans- 
mitted to a school in Paris ; and thus, with 
the exception of a few brief weeks, he was 
never at Castle Raymond till his education 
was completed. 

Meanwhile Angela, with the aid of Mrs. 
Dorothy, who was engaged as nurse as soon 
as the family returned from Italy after Mrs. 

VOL. I. D 



34 THE BTJCKLYjS- shaig. 

Clifford's deatli, devoted herself entirely to 
the care of the little Teresa. A more en- 
gaging child could hardly be found. To 
strangers she was grave and silent, but 
with Aunt Angela she was all bright intel- 
ligence. Thoughtful beyond her years, she 
had shown a tendency to love study and 
reflection before she was seven years of age. 
She had inherited her father's eyes and 
thoughtful brow, but the sweetness of the 
lower part of the face was her mother's gift. 
She was only three years and a half when 
Lord and Lady Clifford were blest by the 
birth of little Rose. She was born in June, 
and from the first moment of her life, un- 
like most babies, had so lovely a com- 
plexion, that when brought to her mother's 
bed-side that she might see the little crea- 
ture of a night old, and say what name she 
was to receive in baptism that day, Angela 
had at once decided she should be called Rose. 
Teresa soon began to patronize her infant 
cousin, and as they grew together nothing 
could be prettier than the contrast between 
these lovely children. They went by the 



K 



THE HALL AND THE CASTLE. 35 

name of " Night and Day " — Teresa with 
eyes like deep night, and Rose with hair 
like Aurora, 

Angela undertook for a long time their 
education. She taught the little maidens to 
read, and to w^rk, and to talk Italian. But 
when Rose was five years old and Teresa 
eight, she engaged a French lady as their 
governess, and the work of education grew 
for a short time more serious under the 
care of Madame de Bray. 

This, however, continued only till Teresa 
was nine years old. And then one day 
Angela received a letter from Roger Clif- 
ford which caused her the greatest anxiety 
and pain. It w^as dated from Florence, 
and after describing to her in his clever 
style the amusements of the carnival, which 
was just closing, it went on to say : 

" And now, my dear sister-in-law, I have 
a task to perform, the first part of whicli is 
simply impossible, and the second painful. 
I have to express my gratitude for your 
unwearied care of my little daughter. When 
you took her you had no child of your own 



36 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

to occupy your time and your affections. I 
thought your kindness immense even then, 
and I have hved in astonishment ever since 
the birth of your own daughter at your 
continuing your hospitahty and your care 
to my poor child. But whilp I can never 
thank you enough for what you have done, 
I should be wrong in asking, nay, even in 
allowing, you to continue this favour. 

" Your little Rose (is not that her name ?) 
is born to bloom in richer lands than my 
poor dark flower, and I should be doing my 
child an injustice in allowing her, just at the 
period when impressions are the strongest, 
to be brought up surrounded by the luxury 
of Nutley Hall. The same motives which 
actuated me in the course I thought it right 
to pursue with regard to Robert, are doubly 
cogent in the case of Teresa, who can never 
have but the poor pittance of a younger 
child's portion, enough, and only enough, 
to pay her dot in some convent, which no 
doubt will be the best and safest career for 
her, if career it can be called. 

*' Since it is for this I destine her (and I 



THE HALL AND THE CASTLE. 37 

believe I am rigorously carrying out by this 
resolve her poor mother's wishes), it is 
much better that Teresa should complete 
her education in a religious house, such as 
we may easily select for her in Paris. And 
let us hope that beginning so young to 
habituate her mind to the gentle routine of 
convent life she will never have any other 
(I won't shock you, dear Angela, by say- 
ing any higher) aspirations ; and that thus 
she will dispose of herself happily for life, 
and certainly, also, so far usefully that it 
will prevent the necessity of my taking 
from Robert's future fortune more than the 
modest sum required to secure her admis- 
sion in some house of the Carmelites (I say 
Carmelites only because of her name, and 
from a notion I have that her mother 
wished it — you know how very devout 
poor Mildred was). If it is not asking too 
much of you, Angela, I think I had rather 
leave the choice of the convent to you. 

*' George writes me, he hopes to take you 
to Rome this autumn. Carry little Teresa 
with you as far as Paris, and locate her 



38 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

there as you think best. I have written 
by the same post to my agent, to desire 
him to enter into any arrangements my 
brother may acquaint him with respecting 
the payment of the pension. 

" Excuse all the additional trouble I am 
giving you, dear Angela. The child has 
seen nothing of me, and therefore will not 
feel a separation, which will hardly be 
increased by this arrangement. She will 
suffer parting from you, but it will only be 
a judicious commencement of that life of ne- 
gation which, as a nun, she will always lead. 

" Once more, a thousand thanks, dear 
sister. Teresa will, I hope, always be 
grateful to you and George. 

" By the by, I bring you, on my return, 
the most exquisite rosary of highly- wrought 
gold beads, with a cross set in rubies at the 
end, that I ever beheld. They say it ori- 
ginally belonged to her late majesty, Mary 
of Modena — an additional reason for its find- 
ing favour in your eyes, my loyal sister. 

" Yours affectionately, 

"Roger Clifford." 



THE UALL AND THE CASTLE. 39 

No words could express Angela's feelings 
on reading this letter. She thought it 
utterly heartless towards the child, and 
ungrateful towards her and her husband. 
She would have rejoiced if later on, when 
old enough to think for herself, the little 
Teresa had elected to enter religion. And, 
indeed, with Angela's opinion of her father's 
character, it seemed to her the best and 
happiest lot for the poor girl ; but Eoger's 
scheming about it shocked her inexpressibly. 

Lord Clifford was one of those amiable, 
easy men who take no strong views on any 
subject (devotion to the house of Stuart and 
to the Catholic faith apart), and therefore he 
tried to argue with his wife that, on the whole, 
Roger's conduct was right and natural. 

" You mow, Angela," he would say, 
'* Roger his very deep feelings beneath all 
that affecied indifference. Unhappily, his 
susceptibil'ty has rendered him jealous, and 
though I lelieve firmly in his affection for 
me, yet I have always felt it was a mis- 
fortune tlat the two estates should be so 
close togelher. It causes him always to be 



40 THE BUCKLTN SHATG. 

reverting in a painful way to his lesser 
fortune. And certainly nature made a mis- 
take. Eoger is ambitious, and ought to 
have been the elder brother. 1 am a plain 
man, and am content to pass my days in 
seclusion with my Angel and my Eosebud. 
But though I cannot feel with Roger, and 
am almost inclined to be angry with him 
for robbing us of little Teresa, yet I honour 
the firmness of his purpose and ths decision 
of his character. Possibly this may arise 
from my being myself of so mach more 
malleable material. But then you know, dear 
Angela, I have you to enact all tlie fire and 
the force, and so save me the trouble." 

Thus, half in jest and half in earnest, 
Lord Clifford strove to console Ks wife for 
her disappointment, and to protect Roger 
from her severe judgment. He did not 
succeed ; but Angela kept her thoughts to 
herself. And the end of it was, ; that little 
Teresa accompanied them to Paiis on their 
way to Italy, and was left there at a con- 
vent of Ursuline nuns. Rose and Madame 
de Bray went with them to Some, and 



THE HALL AND THE CASTLE. 41 

Mrs. Dorothy went as Angela's maid. They 
passed the winter there, and there it was that 
Angela began to feel that the English cli- 
mate had been making secret^ and till then 
unsuspected, ravages on her constitution. 

They did not return to Nutley Hall for 
nearly two years, and it was the end of 
June that the opening scene of our story 
took place, the family having arrived in 
April. Eoger was coming home. It was 
whispered that heavy losses at play made it 
necessary that he should keep very quiet 
for a time, and he talked of bringing back 
Teresa from Paris with him. Angela 
feared her father's household would hardly 
be conducted in a way to make it a desir- 
able residence for a young girl. Lord 
Clifford had not heard the rumours about 
the motives for his brother's return, and if 
he had would not have believed them. He 
was rejoiced to think that he should again 
enjoy his companionship, and he thought 
nothing more right and natural than that, 
intending to remain at home, he should 
bring back Teresa with him. 



42 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Lord Clifford, on his arrival in England, 
had found business of the greatest import- 
ance to the Koyalist cause awaiting his 
decision and advice. Nothing could be 
done without an interview with the Pre- 
tender, then at Yienna. As soon, therefore, 
as he had seen Angela and Eose safely 
settled at home, he had returned to Paris 
to meet the Orsini-s, who had promised to 
follow them very shortly from Rome, and 
spend the summer in England. When he 
did so, it was thought better, for many 
reasons, that the princess and Andrea 
should continue their journey with the 
domestic chaplain and their rather large 
retinue of servants, alone, and that the 
prince, who was a personal friend of the 
Pretender, should accompany Lord Clif- 
ford to Yienna. 

Their return was now hourly expected^ 
and as Roger had written word that he, too, 
was coming home, the hall and the castle 
were likely soon to be enlivened by the 
presence of the two families. 



43 



CHAPTER III. 

DOMESTIC. 

About a week had passed since the scene 
in the garden between Rose and Andrea, 
when Lady CHfford and the princess were 
sitting, late in the day, by the 023en window. 
The air was sultry and oppressive^ as if it 
foreboded a storm. Angela had been talk- 
ing with her friend of their mutual rela- 
tions and acquaintances in France and Italy. 
The children were playing in the next 
room, with the door open into that where the 
ladies were sitting, when they all heard the 
sound of a horse galloping up to the front 
door, and the bell ring violently. Angela 
blushed and then turned pale. Every hour 
she and the princess expected to hear of 



44 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

their husbands' return, and Angela hoped 
this might be a messenger from them. The 
princess, knowing how easily Lady Clifford 
was agitated in her then delicate health, 
tried to make her continue the conversation 
till they could know what the ring at the 
bell meant. Presently a servant entered, 
and said : 

" My lady, there is a messenger come 
from Mr. Clifford in London. He has 
brought this letter, and says his master is 
on his way." 

Angela broke the seal, and read aloud : 

" My dear Sister-in-law, 

" I arrived from Paris three days ago, 
bringing Teresa with me. I had written, 
as perhaps you have heard, to the castle, 
to have everything in readiness for our 
arrival; but Teresa seems so unwell that I 
am anxious to see her at once safe at the 
end of her journey. I hope, this being the 
case, you will not think me intruding if I 
bring her to you until her own home is 
ready. 



DOMESTIC. 45 

" I am a bad hand at having the care of 
children, and I do not quite know what 
to think of the two big black eyes and 
unnaturally sad, pale face that I see now in 
the arm-chair before me. 

" I send a man on horseback at once. 
We cannot arrive till late in the evening. 

" Yours, with many apologies, 

" Roger Clifford." 

*' Louise," said Angela, looking up with 
a bright smile, "" this is a most happy pro- 
vidence. I shall have that dear child here, 
and once I have got her, I will keep her." 

In a few moments the whole house was 
in motion preparing for the reception of 
the welcome guests, and the door of the 
great hall was opened while the carriage 
was still climbing the slope. 

First, was lifted out by the old butler, a 
little pale girl, in a dark blue frock and a 
black bonnet, who said instantly, but very 
quietly, in a decided voice : 

'' Put me down, if you please." 



46 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Angela caught her in her arms, and Rose 
flung hers round her. The little creature 
seem pleased, but half frightened ; but she 
returned Rose's embrace eagerly. Eoger, 
looking more of a foreigner than ever, 
stepped forward with a number of cold and 
graceful apologies for their arriving so sud- 
denly, and hoped his doing so would not in- 
convenience Angela. 

'^ Why, Roger, we are delighted to have 
you, of course," she exclaimed, warmly, for- 
getting, in her natural hospitality, the 
aversion she had to him, or, perhaps, not 
feeling it in the presence of little Teresa, 
who was as her own adopted child. *' We 
cannot let you go to the castle to-night. 
Nothing there is ready for you; besides, 
you must remain at least a few days till we 
see how Teresa gets on. You would be 
anxious about her up there all by your- 
self." 

He acquiesced so courteously, that the 
princess, already much struck by his appear- 
ance, began to think all Angela had said 
about him was the effect of imagination. 



DOMESTIC. 47 

It was settled he should stop at Nutley 
Hall. 

Nothing could be happier and more 
peaceful than the family circle, completed 
and assembled at Nutley Hall a few days 
after the arrival of Roger. 

Teresa soon recovered her looks and her 
strength under the careful nursing she re- 
ceived. Lord Clifford and the Prince 
Orsini joined them very shortly, and though 
they both were at first slightly depressed by 
the ill success of their expedition ; and of 
their losses in the Jacobite cause, still the 
repose of home, and the presence around 
them of all they held most dear, rendered it 
impossible for all parties not to feel that 
the "lines had fallen to them in goodly 
places." 

Angela's health was considerably im- 
proved. She could join in the walks they 
took of an afternoon ; she could accompany 
Roger and the prince in their singing in 
the evening. She was an admirable musi- 
cian, and had a rich contralto voice. The 
prince also was considered, even in Italy, as 



48 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

being an excellent performer, and his voice 
was magnificent. The princess appreciated, 
though she could not contribute, and so 
while the above-named trio were performing, 
she and Madame de Bray used to whisper 
French together, and talk of their beloved 
country and gay Paris, while Lord Clifford 
sat enjoying the music, and never missing a 
single note, like a silent Englishman as he 
was. 

Madame de Bray was born of a noble 
family, though compelled by misfortune to 
employ her talents in education. She and 
the princess were intimate with many 
persons of the same circle of society, and 
Madame de Bray, in happier times, had 
been at the French Court. 

The strong feeling that Angela had ex- 
pressed with regard to Roger, seemed to 
soften down under the influence of his 
polished manners and the charm of his 
conversation. He seldom spoke of politics, 
still less of religion ; and it seemed impos- 
sible not to feel the trust in him that an 
honest man and a gentleman inspires ; or at 



DOMESTIC. 49 

least one whom we believe to be such, 
because he looks and speaks like one. 

The princess did not hesitate to take 
Madame de Bray into her confidence with 
regard to Andrea and Rose. She would 
say to her : 

" You know, my dear madame, Lady 
Clifibrd's health is so dehcate, that I cannot 
conceal from myself the too great probability 
of her not living to see dear Rose married. 
Lord Clifford is a most amiable and excellent 
man, I have the greatest affection for him ; but 
I doubt his being a man of much indepen- 
dence of character. And n o w really, between 
ourselves, I think I had better candidly tell 
you what I am afraid of. I tremble lest he 
should think it wise to marry Rose with her 
cousin Robert, and so unite the two proper- 
ties ; for though of course it would involve 
all the difficulties of endeavouring to obtain 
the necessary dispensation for admitting of 
a marriage between cousins, yet considering 
how much may be said to hang upon it, and 
the great importance in this country of 
keeping up the good old Catholic families, 

VOL. I. E 



50 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

I cannot but think the permission would be 
obtained from the Holy See." 

Madame de Bray looked a little grave, 
and replied : 

*' I should consider that a very undesirable 
alliance, my dear princess. At the same 
time, I quite foresee the possibility of the 
danger. Lord Clifford is extremely attached 
to his brother." 

" Do tell me, madame, what sort of a boy 
is Eobert ?" 

" We have seen very little of him. I am 
told that he shows considerable talent. But 
he has been brought up entirely abroad, and 
is now at a German university." 

" What ! a Protestant university. Impos- 
sible !" 

" He is at Bonn ; and, as you are aware, 
he can there declare himself either Protes- 
tant or Catholic, or neither." 

" And which has he done ?" asked the 
princess. 

" I believe he has followed the third course, 
and adopted no religion at all. And I am 
afraid that is exactly what his father wished. 



DOMESTIC. 51 

You know Mr. Clifford is a very ambitious 
man. Our faith is an impediment, absolute 
and entire, to his ever rising in this 
country. The House of Commons, and the 
court, and the bar, even had he ever thought 
of that, are absolutely closed to him. He 
cannot hold a commission in the army, or 
even exercise any influence in his own 
county as a magistrate. This is extremely 
galling to a man of his temper, and though 
he himself will, probably — whether from 
family pride, or, let us hope, from still 
having the faith though he does not live up 
to it — never openly renounce the Catholic 
Church, yet I am afraid he would not be 
sorry that his son, later on, by open apostacy, 
should become an eligible candidate for 
some of the honours and places the Court 
and the Government may have to bestow." 

''But, dear madame, do you imagine 
Lord Clifford has any idea of the state of 
the case with regard to his brother's feel- 
mgs ? 

" I do not believe he has. Nor would it 
be easy to enlighten him on the subject. 



LIBRARY 

iJNJVERSfTY OF rUfWOIS 



52 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

He is devoted to his younger brother, and 
what with Mr. CHfford's being almost 
always absent abroad, and with ourselves 
going so often to Italy, added to Mr. Clif- 
ford's careful conduct when in his brother's 
house, I am not much surprised that he 
does not suspect the truth." 

" I perceive, indeed," said the princess, 
" that Mr. Clifford seems to be bitten with 
some of the Grerman philosophical views 
of the day, and to admire the lawless spirit 
which is unhappily gaining ground in our 
own France. But I own that in a man 
of the world, like Mr. Clifford, I had not 
attached much importance to this." 

"There can be no doubt," rejoined Ma- 
dame de Bray, "that Mr. Clifford has a 
great charm about him — a something that 
excites one's interest and curiosity. But if 
his son inherits his father's opinions, it 
would break my heart that he should be- 
come the husband of my darling Eose." 

" But surely, madame, Angela might ob- 
tain a promise from her husband that Rose 
shall be affianced to Andrea. There can 



DOMESTIC. 53 

be no reason why tlie question should not 
be settled at once, if only Rose's parents can 
be brought to desire it as much as the 
prince and myself." 

" Unfortunately, Lady Clifford is not 
likely to have any influence with my lord 
on that subject ; I mean on the subject of 
her feelings for his brother. He has 
always shown a slight jealousy of Lady 
Clifford's interference about any member of 
his own family, and has seemed to be appre- 
hensive that, not being an Englishwoman, 
she will misunderstand his relatives, and 
perhaps depreciate his country and customs. 
It would, of course, be a noble and wealthy 
alliance for Rose to become the wife of the 
heir of the Orsinis. But then it obliterates 
the heiress of the elder branch of the 
Cliffords under the shadow of a great 
Italian house. We must hope, dear prin- 
cess, that the prayers of the martyred 
priest, who was great uncle to the present 
Lord Clifford, may prevail to bring about 
what we desire." 

" Then it is true, is it, that some of the 



54 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

blood of the Cliffords has been shed for the 
faith ?" 

" Quite true. He was the priest here, 
in this very place. You know in Queen 
Elizabeth's fatal reign, it was hanging 
matter to celebrate mass. Father Francis 
was just concluding the august sacrifice 
when he was seized in his vestments at the 
altar. There is preserved in the Chapel 
House at Nutley the letter he wrote the 
eve of his martyrdom. It is partly in 
cypher, but can easily be made out enough 
to perceive the sense. I happen to have 
a copy of the interesting document at this 
moment in my work-bag, for being desirous 
of sending it to my brother in France I 
asked Father Netherby to let me see it. 
Here it is : 

" Eight Eeverend, 

" I received your commands with all 
humility, and promptitude in execution, for 
I had taken possession of B. Paul's XX 
place about twenty hours before it came 
to me. Now I earnestly beg your prayers 



DOMESTIC. 55 

that I may constantly follow on to pursue 
tlie end of perseverance. 

" Mr. Hood, I hope, will be able to make 
seme little relation of what hath passed 
hitherto. 

" All that I ask of any is that (which) 
Sdnt Andrew begged of the people, ' ne 
iiwedient passionem^' Grod's holy will be 
doae in ceternum, 

" Your poor 

"Brother Francis.* 
"Nov, 12." 



" How proud Lord Clifford must be 
of having such noble examples in his 
family ?" 

"Yes, he is indeed, and proud too, of 
he ' Acts of Attainder/ which you may 
ilmost say form the principal family papers 
)f this great house. Formerly half this 

* The above, which was copied from the original 
IS., is authentic. The surname in the original is 
^>ell. A few cyphers, not essential to the meaning, 
re omitted. 



56 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. , 

county, and nearly the whole of the nexli 
belonged to the house of Clifford, besides 
the property in the north of England. Biit 
one rich farm after another went, for e very- 
child that was known to have been baptized 
in the Catholic Church, or for the celebia- 
tion of mass (when it was found out), Dr 
for having harboured a priest, or for tke 
priest having been called to administer tke 
last sacraments to 'the dying. You miy 
say that the archives of this family are so 
many claims to the palm of martyrdom, so 
many title-deeds to a higher place in the 
many mansions of our Father's kingdom 
They count their riches, not by what they 
have gained, not by the rent-roll of their 
estates, but by their losses and their for- 
feitures in the cause of the faith !" 

" But surely the suiferings of Catholics 
in this country are not what they were ? 
They follow their faith without any actua 
danger now." 

" That is true," replied madame ; " never 
theless, what they call the ' Disability 
Bills ' are still in full force. Doubtless, th 



DOMESTIC. 57 

day will come when even tliey will be 
repealed ; but it will unquestionably not 
really put tlie Catholics beyond the reach 
of suffering'. There is another persecution, 
the result of bigotry and prejudice : a per- 
secution in home life of the affections and 
feelings. It sheds no blood ; it wears no 
halo of martyrdom : but I can imagine it 
will be very nearly as difficult to bear, 
though certainly not so apparently glorious 
as that endured by, for example, the an- 
cestors of this family." 

" That is possible," rej)lied the princess, 
" but even that must drop by degrees ; 
and, besides, it is less likely to embrace so 
large a number of sufferers. Prejudice is 
like the miasma in some parts of Italy : 
it covers one acre of land, and the spot 
adjoining it is free from it ; and then it 
shifts from place to place, creeping over 
the ground like the foul unwholesome thing 
it is. But a change of wind will blow it 
away, and restore fresh air and healthful- 
ness." 

It was not many days after the above 



58 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

conversation that a plan was arranged for 
the ladies and children, and the three 
gentlemen, to go to Eaymond Castle, and 
spend the day there. The princess wished 
to see the castle, and Roger seemed pleased 
at having the opportunity of showing 
civility to his sister - in - law's relations. 
Teresa was still living at Nutley Hall, and 
so was her father. 

Roger announced his intention of shortly 
taking up his abode at Raymond Castle, but 
at the same time he doubted the possibility 
of enduring his solitary life in a place so 
uncongenial to his tastes. 

Lord Clifford talked again of taking his 
wife to Italy. In which case Roger said 
he should insist on his little Teresa being 
again consigned to the nuns. Teresa had 
not seen her own home for two years, 
and as before going to school she had 
always lived at Nutley Hall, she had no 
very distinct recollections of the castle. 
She was full of eager excitement about it_, 
and asked endless questions of Rose and 
Mrs. Dorothy the evening before the day 



DOMESTIC. 59 

fixed for their visit there. Teresa was 
never so happy as when she could shp 
away to the room where Mrs. Dorothy sat 
generally surrounded with house-linen to 
mend, or Miss Rose's frocks to cut out and 
make ; and taking a stool she would draw 
it near the window where Mrs. Dorothy 
worked, and commence her long list of 
inquiries. 

It often happened that Rose and Andrea 
would join them, and then it was a very 
merry party, with a great clatter of small 
voices, and a curious mixture of English, 
French, and Italian conversation. Teresa 
knew but little of Italian, having nearly 
forgotten what she had learnt two years 
previous, when living with her aunt An- 
gela ; but Rose and Andrea were perfectly 
fluent in all three languages, and of the 
two, French came more naturally to Teresa 
than English. 

Mrs. Dorothy having been a great tra- 
veller, in consequence of the vagrant habits 
of the family in which she lived, could 
understand what the children said to each 



60 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

other in either tongue, though she gene- 
rally confined her own observations to 
English, because Miss Rose was apt to 
criticise her pronunciation of French, and 
Andrea to go into fits of laughter over her 
Italian. 

On this occasion all the three children 
were grouped round Mrs. Dorothy. Teresa 
had relinquished her little stool to Rose, as 
being the youngest, and was herself sitting 
in a chair, looking nearly as joi^i^^i and 
quite as sweet and nunlike as she did on 
the night of her arrival, though the ugly 
livery had given place to brighter attire. 

Andrea opened the conversation by re- 
minding Rose that she had promised to beg 
Dorothy to tell them the exact truth about 
some wonderful and supernatural appear- 
ance connected with Raymond Castle. But 
Dorothy shook her head, and replied, 

" I cannot talk to little children about 
such things. I shall have Miss Rose 
crying in the night, and Miss Teresa will 
be afraid to go and live in her father's 
house." 



DOMESTIC. 61 

" Ob, but, Dorotby, I do know all about 
it, only I want to bear it again. Tbe coacb- 
man told Andy tbe otber day wben Andy 
was riding, and wben be came borne be told 
me. I am not frigbtened, and I want to 
know more. You are not frigbtened, are 
you, dear Teresa ?" 

" No," said Teresa, " I am not afraid ot 
tbese tilings, and I am quite sure it will not 
make me afraid to live witb papa. Poor 
papa ! be always looks so grave, I sbould 
like to live witb bim, and make bim laugb." 

" I bardly tbink you would do tbat, Miss 
Teresa," said Dorotby, ''for you are tbe 
gravest little lady I ever saw myself. I 
sbould like to see you laugb a little 
more." 

"Well tben, Mrs. Dorotby, tell me 
about Bucklyn and Sbaig, and tben I will 
laugb." 

" Now, tben," said Rose, clapping ber 
bands, " begin like a good Dolly." 

" Tbere is not mucb to tell, my dear 
cbildren," said Dorotby, looking, nevertbe- 
less, grave and important. "It is only an 



62 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

idle story, I dare say, of the common people 
about here. 

" You know, Miss Rose, the bend in the 
road as you go up to the castle from the 
Blackdean Road. When you have passed 
the park lodge a little way you come to 
some groups of trees, rather close together. 
It is not an avenue now, but it looks as if it 
had been some time or other, only several 
of the trees are missing, and there is a pond 
close to the side of the road, with a round 
island in it. 

'' Well, the story goes that long ago there 
was a very wicked Lord Clifford, who lived 
at Raymond Castle, for in those days the 
castle and the hall both belonged to the 
same person. 

" This wicked Lord Clifford had murdered 
his wife, and buried her somewhere in the 
castle. He led a bad life, and drank hard, 
and oppressed the poor. One day a holy 
Franciscan came to Lord Clifford to ask an 
alms. The baron was going out hunting. 
He wore a broad hunting-belt, with a great 
gold buckle, and he had very fierce dogs. 



DOMESTIC. 63 

for he was going to hunt the wolf in the 
great forest under the hill. The friar 
asked for alms for his house, and for the 
poor of the neighhouring hamlet, and he 
uphraided Lord Clifford for his cruelty to 
the widow and the orphan. He was a bold 
man that barefooted friar, but he said what 
he said for love of God and Our Lady. The 
wicked baron got very angry, and swore at 
the friar, and, as the friar would not be 
silent, he struck him with his great hunt- 
ing-whip on the mouth, and the blood 
flowed. Then he called to his savage dogs, 
and they flew at the friar. They grew mad 
at the sight of blood, and they tore the friar 
down on the ground, and there he lay half 
dead. But as Lord Clifford was riding off 
the friar called out, 'Lord Clifford, Lord 
Clifford, I forgive thee ; but the Evil One 
will ride with thee to-night, and hold by 
the buckle of thy belt.' 

" Lord Clifford called off his hounds, and 
they followed the hunt through all the day ; 
but when evening came Lord Clifford was 
missing. The huntsmen and the guests 



64 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

heard screams far off in the forest, but he 
never came back. Only all through the 
night they heard the sound of a horse gal- 
loping, as if backwards and forwards, just 
along that piece of the road opposite the 
small pond with the island. The horse 
never reached the castle, but went up and 
down the same distance along the road, as 
if the rider never could find his way home. 
And they do say that sometimes the 
labourers, returning home at night, have 
seen a horse at full gallop : there sits on 
him a man pale and horrid, and holding on 
behind, with his arms round his waist, is 
the devil, for all the world like a very 
shaggy wolf, and the peasants call it the 
Bucklyn Shaig ; and I have been told that 
occasionally when some persons who per- 
haps had not a very clear conscience (for I 
cannot beheve it would happen to a good 
man), have been riding down that part of 
the road, Bucklyn Shaig who seems always 
to haunt the place, will jump up behind the 
unhappy man and throw his arms round hi 
waist, as he is seen to do round the phantom 



DOMESTIC. 65 

Lord Clifford, and so will ride with him, 
whether he will or no, till he passes out of 
the shade of the trees again into the open 
road and over the brook ; and then the 
devil leaps down and jumps over the fence 
in the shape of a black cat.* And the 
story goes, that when Bucklyn Shaig is seen 
it is always a sign that some great crime 
has been committed up at the castle, or that 
a great misfortune is about to happen to the 
house of Clifford." 

There was a pause of hushed terror when 
Dorothy came to the end of her story. It 
was too near home not to take double 
effedt on the little listeners. Teresa's 
white cheek was curdled with horror, and 
Rosa's eyes were open to their widest 
stretch. Andrea was the first person to 
speak. He put his arm round Rosa's neck, 
and said : 

" Never mind, Rosy, dear ; if ever you 
and I, and Teresa see him, we will say the 

* The same legend, under the same name, exists 
also in the county of Surrey, near Reigate. But in 
that case the devil disappears in the form of a shaggy 
dog, after crossing the brook with the rider. 
VOL. I. F 



66 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Litany, and that is sure to send the devil 
away.'* 

Mrs. Dorothy, seeing that her story had 
even more telHng effect than she had anti- 
cipated, said cheerfully : 

" There now, you silly children, you all 
look as scared as if you had seen it your- 
selves. Let us think of something else. 
Suppose we sing the Litany, all four of us 
together, to that pretty tune I was teaching 
you last week. I wonder if you have for- 
gotten it." 

Teresa's voice was remarkably sweet. 
She sang with much feeling, and Mrs. 
Dorothy, as she looked at the pure oval of 
her face, and the full, thickly-fringed lids, 
half-closing over the dark eyes, remembered 
some of the pictures of St. Cecilia that she 
had seen in her travels. She could not take 
her eyes off the earnest, lovely face, and 
when the singing was over, and cheerful- 
ness restored, she said to herself, " That 
child looks as if she would die a saint one 
of these days." 



67 



CHAPTER IV. 

A day's pleasure. 

The weather proving favourable for the 
expedition — not a very long one — to Ray- 
mond Castle, the children were packed in a 
char-a-banc, Madame de Bray and Mrs. 
Dorothy being in attendance. The ladies 
and gentlemen proceeded in an open car- 
riage. 

When they approached that part of the 
park near Raymond Castle which answered 
to Mrs. Dorothy's description of the haunt 
of the Bucklyn Shaig, Andrea drew nearer 
to Rose and whispered to her : 

'' This is the place, Rose ; but he will 
not come now, because it is daylight. I 
hope we shall return after dark, and so see 
him." 



68 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

" No," said Eose, very gravely, " it is 
not riglit to wish to see such things. I 
cannot think how any one can wish to see 
the devil ; and, besides, it always means, 
when it is seen, that some misfortune is to 
happen to the Cliffords ; and you know, 
Andy, it might mean that I was to die, and 
you would not like that." 

Eose spoke with all the confidence of a 
person well aware of her own importance, 
and particularly of the importance she must 
necessarily have in the eyes of Andrea. 
Eose remarked the little circular pond, and 
the island planted with willows and osiers, 
making, probably, a cover for the nests of 
some of the wildfowl that frequented the 
waters of Eaymond Park. She noticed it 
then, and ever after ; and many years later, 
when that tiny island became a most im- 
portant spot to her on a dark night, the 
events of which we shall have to relate, 
Eose, in spite of her terror then, and her 
danger, remembered that bright summer's 
morning, and the drive in the char-a-banc, 
and little Andrea sitting by her side. 



A day's pleasure. 69 

Tliey drove past the great Scotch firs, 
leaving them to the left. Angela re- 
mai'ked that they faintly reminded her of 
the stone pines of her own land, and were 
at all events not a bad substitute ; and pre- 
sently they alighted under the open, arched 
porch of the great clock-tower. 

Teresa kept very much to the society of 
Mrs. Dorothy. She had found that the 
nurse had known her mother before her 
own birth, which had cost that mother's 
life. Dorothy was a native of the place, 
and had been in the family from her 
earliest girlhood. Teresa would ask many 
questions about her mother, and, above all, 
had begged Dorothy to be sure and get 
the key of her mother's oratory, that she 
might visit again the spot consecrated by 
her mother's prayers. 

The entrance of Raymond Castle led into 
a long gallery, which ran from one end of 
the castle to the other, and was hung on 
either side with family portraits. From 
the centre of this gallery rose the great oak 
staircase, dividing halfway up into two 



70 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

flights of steps, and with a large window of 
painted glass at the top of the first flight. 
At the extreme end of the gallery, to the 
right, was the banqueting-hall, with richly- 
carved roof, and beautiful faces looking 
down from the ends of the beams. Opposite 
the door of the banqueting-hall was a small 
reception-room with a deep oriel window, 
and beyond that a tiny boudoir ; then came 
Mr. Clifford's study. The larger reception- 
rooms were the opposite side of the gallery. 
The whole had been modernized from the 
time when the wicked lord lived there, and 
when the Bucklyn and Shaig was a well- 
recognised inhabitant of the neighbour- 
hood. There were, moreover, no bare- 
footed friars to come to the door and beg 
for the poor of Christ. 

The old castle had been modernized in 
every way, and, doubtless, was less uncom- 
fortable than in the ages of faith, when it 
was also more picturesque. It retained, 
however, enough of its old character for 
Rose some years hence, as we shall find, 
still to call it gloomy. 



A day's pleasure. 71 

Wyverns and grlfSns, and creatures 
that were neither dog nor cat, were carved 
outside on the posterns of the doors arid 
mulHons of the windows ; the great tower, 
esjoecially on the outside, was a perfect 
menagerie of stone monsters, who seemed 
ready to pounce upon you as you passed in 
or out of the porch through the open 
arches. 

The children ran about in all directions, 
and were pleased and amused with every- 
thing. The deer came up to the very 
windows of the castle, and the peacocks — 
of which there were many, because the late 
Mrs. Clifford had liked to see them ma- 
jestically walking backwards and forwards 
on the lawn — perched in the large trees 
near the castle, like turkeys in a farmyard. 

When Teresa had accompanied the two 
other children for some time in their 
wanderings, she slipped quietly away to 
look for Mrs. Dorothy, and ask for the 
key to her mother's oratory. Mrs. Doro- 
thy was soon found, and they went to- 
gether. As we have said before, it had 



72 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

always been Mrs. Dorothy's care to keep 
it as it had been left by Mrs. Clifford. 
And as Mrs. Dorothy seemed to belong 
equally to both branches of the family, 
residing with Miss Rose when Miss Teresa 
was in the convent, and following the 
latter to the castle when her father took 
her there, she had no difficulty in getting 
access to the oratory whenever her pious 
self-imposed duties called her there. 

Teresa passed into the little room with a 
feeling of awe. It was connected in her 
mind with a love she had never known, 
that of a mother, and with all that was 
most sacred in religion. The two were 
blended in her young mind in a beauti- 
ful and mysterious way — the past, in the 
thought of her saintly mother ; the present, 
in the thought of her own orphaned con- 
dition ; and the future, in the dear hope of 
joining that mother in a world the reality 
and the nearness of which were the strong- 
est feelings in her innocent mind. 

In contrast with all the rest of the castle, 
the oratory, its altar, and all the decora- 



A day's pleasure. 73 

tions, were purely Roman. Over the altar 
hung a beautiful Ecce Homo, by Guer- 
cino. The mournful dark eyes in that 
palhd Face seemed to look down upon you 
pleadingly. The hair, streaked with the 
dews of agony, fell in disorder across the 
brow; the flesh tints showed the livid 
tinge that suffering gives when it stagnates 
the blood. The meek Hands, so often 
raised to heal and to bless, were knotted 
together with a coarse cord, and the cruel 
pressure had left the fingers numb and 
reddened. A dark crimson drapery fell 
from the shoulders as low as the waist, and 
threw up in greater relief the pallor of the 
figure. The coldest could not have looked 
on that picture without feeling its beauty. 
And the effect was heightened by the 
oratory being dimly lighted by two win- 
dows high up, and shaded by blinds of a 
deep gold-colour. There stood on the 
super-altar an ivory crucifix, said to have 
been carved by Benvenuto Cellini, and 
four massive silver candlesticks. There 
were no flowers. The altar itself was of 



74 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

white marble, inlaid with Alexandrian 
mosaic. Above was a baldacchino of 
crimson velvet edged and fringed with 
gold. The walls were painted with ara- 
besques like those of the loggie in the 
Vatican, and three feet from the ground 
ran a border of deep Etruscan red. The 
floor was inlaid with different coloured 
woods. It .might have been a cardinal's 
private oratory caught up from Rome, and 
dropped in the midst of a gothic English 
castle. 

There was something very striking in the 
contrast to the }■ oung imagination of Teresa. 
Her mother had died in Italy — lay buried 
in Italy. Her brief life had known, as 
was evident by the decorations she had 
chosen for her oratory, a strange sympathy 
with the art and artistic feeling of that 
land ; and it was there she had gone to die, 
as if it were the her land of predilection, 
and that she would better rest in its bosom. 

In after years Teresa spent many hours 
in this little oratory, and the thought of a 
mother's love, never really known on earth 



A day's pleasure. 75 

to her, grew into her mind with her 
mother's rehgion, and helped her to pene- 
trate some of its deepest mysteries. As 
Teresa knelt on the altar steps, she prayed 
for that father, her only living parent, who 
never knelt there himself, and cared so 
little for the spot that should have been 
rendered doubly sacred by the memory 
of his young and devoted wife. 

They suffer who dwell on the memory of 
the dead. But those are more to be pitied 
who have not heart enough to cherish the 
thoughts of the once beloved ones who are 
gone before. 

While Teresa was still kneeling there, 
Angela and the princess came in. They, 
too, knelt. Presently Teresa rose to leave 
the oratory; Angela looked up and saw 
that the dear child's cheeks were wet with 
tears. She caught her in her arms, and 
pressed her passionately to her bosom. 

" My child, my darling child ! you have 
a Mother in heaven." 

" Oh, that She may pray for my poor 
father on earth !" was the unexpected 



76 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

and solemn answer of that premature 
heart. 

Already Teresa had entered upon her 
vocation — to live for others, and not for 
herself, to see the wants of others more 
than her own, and if it might be, even to 
die for others. 

When Teresa left the oratory, she joined 
the other children, and was at once a child 
again. When her father came in she ran 
up to him and slipped her little hand in 
his, and seemed to watch him and keep 
close to him all through the remainder of 
the day. He turned his dark eyes upon 
her from time to time with a look of 
anxiety, if not of tenderness. He seemed 
puzzled at the little creature's ways, and 
did not know how to meet them. 

Angela, with a woman's instinct, was un- 
derstanding it all, and quickly perceiving 
how at that moment she might possibly 
achieve her own benevolent ends, vshe 
quietly made up to Roger, and laying her 
hand gently on his arm, said : 

" You will let me keep her, will you 



A day's pleasure. 77 

not, Roger? The poor child is mother- 
less !'' 

Roger for a moment looked troubled, a 
flush passed over his pallid cheeks, but he 
replied : 

" Thank jou, my dear kind sister-in-law. 
When you next go to Italy, I should be 
glad she went with you as far as Paris. If 
you go this winter let it be then. Mean- 
while, as you are so good as to wish it, I 
will leave her with you, at least for another 
month or two." 

Angela expressed her thanks warmly, 
small as the concession amounted to, and 
would have done so still more had she not 
perceived that it seemed painful to Roger 
to dwell on the subject. The old jealousy 
of the elder brother, and the greater house, 
was still gnawing at his heart, and he was 
too proud to give it up even at Angela's 
entreaties, or for any love that he might 
bear to Teresa. Angela tried to put in a 
word for Robert, now eighteen years of 
age, and always away from his family and 
his father's house. But she saw that it 



78 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

was worse than useless to do so, and there- 
fore gave up the attemjot, thankful at least 
to have carried the day so far as Teresa 
was concerned. And in triumph she 
hastened to acquaint the princess with her 
success. 

The gentlemen had been walking all 
through the grounds and over the castle. 
Lord Clifford had been warmly praising the 
improvements made by his brother. And 
the prince had been comparing the older 
parts of the castle with his own feudal 
castle of Bracciano, where there is still to be 
seen an awful keep, down which prisoners 
were thrown in the good old times. It was 
quite in the body of the castle, and bears 
some resemblance to an enormous well. The 
prince asked Roger if he remembered it. 

" Oh, yes," said Roger, '' and I too have 
something of the kind, somewhere or other 
in my castle, only it is of a much more 
harmless nature. It is in fact an old well 
which happens to be built over, but which 
does lie underneath the flooring of some one 
of the rooms." 



A day's pleasure. 79 

When the prince and Roger were both 
in the decline of hfe, the former heard 
something which recalled to his recollection 
this trifling remark about the well. But 
we must not anticipate events. 

The sun had set, and the moon was 
shining bright when they left the castle. 
They returned home by another way — not 
going through the lodge at the end of the 
road, said to be frequented by the Bucklyn 
Shaig, but passing out of the park into the 
fields of the home-farm, and thus regaining 
the road at the head of the lake. This was 
done in consequence of a hint given to Lady 
Clifford by Mrs. Dorothy, who was not 
without fear that the children, already in an 
excited state, anight allow their imagina- 
tion to master their judgment on the ques- 
tion of spectres and goblins, if they returned 
home through the fatal avenue. They were 
pleased with the change of road, and failed 
to discover the reason, and were moreover 
too merry, and too full of wild spirits for 
the recollection of the Bucklyn Shaig to 
have any iufluence 



80 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

Several weeks had passed in this quiet 
way, the members of the one family satisfied 
with each other's society, but still from time 
time showing due hospitality to their neigh- 
bours. No one talked of going yet, and 
even Roger seemed contented. It is true, 
slight causes of disapprobation were occa- 
sionally detected by the prince and princess, 
and still more so by Angela, with regard 
to a certain tone in Roger's conversation. 
But Lord Clifford could perceive nothing 
but the brilliancy of a clever man of the 
world. He referred to his brother in every- 
thing, took his advice in all matters of busi- 
ness, and seemed to desire nothing so much 
as to make him feel that he associated him 
in every interest of his life. He talked a 
great deal about Robert, and the deep 
interest he felt in the lad, now eis-hteen 
years of age. But at the same time he said 
nothing sufficient to make the Orsinis per- 
ceive more in his affection than what was 
natural from an uncle to an only nephew, 
especially as having no son of his own, 
although he might still hope for one, the 



A day's pleasure. 81 

probability was that the title would ulti- 
mately devolve upon Eobert. The property 
he had entirely in his own power, and of 
course would leave it all to Rose, on whom 
he perfectly doted. 

At length, however, this unbroken calm 
was destined to be slightly disturbed ; and, 
as generally happens, the disturbance came 
from the less prominent actors in the 
domestic scene. 

One morning early, while Angela was 
sitting writing letters in her boudoir, Mrs. 
Dorothy knocked at the door, and begged 
to speak to her ladyship. Upon obtaining 
admission she closed the door carefully 
behind her, and began in rather a low 
voice, as though still afraid she might be 
overheard : 

" I beg your pardon, my lady, for coming 
to trouble you. Your ladyship knows I 
never like to bring tales of the other ser- 
vants, or to repeat unnecessarily anything 
that goes on amongst them ; and I should 
be the more anxious not to do so in the 
present case, because I seem to belong, as 

VOL. I. G 



82 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

it were, to Mr. Clifford as well as to you 
and my lord, seeing that I am nurse to 
Miss Teresa, as well as to Miss Rose, when- 
ever the former is in England. But I 
think, my lady, in the present case I should 
be doing wrong if I did not speak out re- 
specting the way things are going on down- 
stairs, and which, but for me, your ladyship 
might perhaps never hear of till something 
dreadful happened." 

'• Yes, Dorothy, what is it ?" 

'' Why, my lady, Mr. Vincenzo, with his 
foreign ways, has brought about quite a 
change in this peaceful and christian house, 
as any way it used to be before he set his 
foot within the doors and darkened them. 
I do not mean to say that the servants 
would not sometimes of an evening, when 
work was done, have a quiet game of cards, 
like Patience, or Beggar-my-neighbour, and 
such like, and may be they would have 
penny or halfpenny stakes. But that was 
the very utmost of the gambling I ever saw 
in this house till Mr. Yincenzo came. But 
now, my lady, it is shilling points every 



A day's pleasure. 83 

night, and even half-crowns sometimes. 
And this has been going on some time, till 
last night they got to playing with dice 
into the bargain, Yincenzo and his lord- 
ship's valet, James. It seems that James 
was fool enough to be telling all the world 
that his aunt as died last vear had left him 
a very pretty sum of money, and ever since 
that fellow, Yincenzo, has been enticing the 
poor fellow to play with him. And James 
has played every night this week. And he 
had the bad luck to win, my lady. For I 
call it bad luck, since it was that made the 
poor fool go on with it. Well, my lady, last 
night they both sat down to it again, as if 
they were in right good earnest. My opinion 
\s^ that James was not quite what he should 
have been. It was after supper, you know, 
my lady, and I think as how James had 
had a drop more than was good for him. 
And Mr. Yincenzo, he saw that, and if he 
had been an honest man he would not have 
played witli a poor fellow who was just a 
little muddled. Well, my lady, they nat up 
till three o'clock in the morning, and that 



84 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

poor silly James lie lost all, or nearly all. 
And lie was like to go mad. And somehow 
he got spirits in, and when he found how 
he had lost and lost, he began drinking. 
The other servants, when they got up at 
six o'clock this morning, they found him 
lying on the floor of the servants' hall, mad 
drunk, and tearing his hair, and saying as 
Mr. Yincenzo had ruined him. Well, my 
lady, they persuaded him to go quietly to 
bed at last, and there he is now, and my 
lord was told, when Richard carried up his 
hot water, that James was not very well. 
They say he does go on so, and he says he 
is ruined, and shall blow his brains out. I 
thought it but right your ladyship should 
know how matters are going on. And 
neither the housekeeper nor the butler like 
to speak for fear of bringing poor James 
into more trouble, and he is so troubled 
already. But, for my part, I lay the blame 
on Mr. Yincenzo. He is a regular sharper, 
my lady, that's what he is ; and the sooner 
he is gone the better for all the servants 
in this house. There is not one of them 



A day's pleasure. 85 

but believes the cards had been tampered 
with." 

Lady CHfford listened horror-struck. This 
was the man Roger kept about him, and 
had done so for years. Could he be igno- 
rant of what a scoundrel he was ? At any 
rate she was determined such things should 
not continue in her house, and resolved to 
speak to Lord Clifford, and beg him to get 
his brother to prohibit his servant tempting 
the others to gamble while stopping at 
Nutley Hall ; while he, on his part, would 
give out that the next time he heard of 
anything of the kind taking place, all the 
parties concerned should be dismissed. 

Lord Clifford looked very grave about it, 
for he had very conscientious views with 
regard to his duty towards his dependants. 
Both he and Angela agreed that it would 
be cruel to punish James any further by 
dismissal, as he had already suffered so 
much. But Lord Clifford took the first 
opportunity of speaking to his brother 
about it. Roger seemed very greatly an- 
noyed, and assured him nothing of the 



86 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

kind should happen again. To Lord Clif- 
ford his manner remained as before this 
incident, and he was always charming in 
his conduct to him. Of course it was the 
same with regard to the prince and princess, 
who could have nothing to do with this 
domestic disturbance. But he became more 
reserved to Angela. If possible he was 
even more attentive than before, but there 
was an absence of all affection in his man- 
ner. He was scrupulously pohte, and posi- 
tively waited on her wants ; but he seldom 
talked to her, and when he did it was some- 
what coldly, and as if he were only per- 
forming a necessary act of courtesy to 
the lady of the house and his brother's 
wife. 

Angela felt it acutely, and complained of 
it to the princess. The latter perceived it, 
but made light of it, being anxious that her 
friend's sensitive nature should not dwell 
upon it. 

Shortly after this event, which had slightly 
troubled the whole party with the exception 
of Lord Clifford — who, the thing once over, 



A day's pleasure. 87 

did not seem to perceive the results — Eoger 
left Xiitley Hall. He remained at the 
castle for about a week, and then suddenly 
reappeared one morning early, to say he 
was come to wish them farewell, as he was 
going that night to London, and to Paris in 
a few days. He took leave of Teresa with 
more show of feeling than he had yet 
evinced to his little daughter, and he finally 
arranged that she should remain with Lord 
and Lady Clifford until they went to Italy, 
whenever that might be ; and that when 
they went they should leave her at the 
convent in Paris on their way. 

Angela had greatly recovered her health 
in the course of the summer, and when the 
Orsinis left England in the beginning of 
October, she was hoping to be able to 
remain at Nutley through the winter ; for, 
as she said, it enabled her to keep Teresa 
with her for some time longer, and also it 
was better for Rose, at her tender age, to 
remain quietly at home. Rose spent a 
whole day in tears when Andrea departed ; 
and he, with protestations of inviolable 



88 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

fidelity, assured her when next he came to 
England it would be to make her his wife, 
and take her away with him. But before 
that period could arrive, Rose herself was 
to visit Italy. 



89 



CHAPTER Y. 

THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 

The time was come when the Orsinis were 
to return to Italy, and Angela, whose 
restored health had induced her to relin- 
quish the intention of leaving home that 
winter, was looking forward with dread to 
the hour of parting. It was settled they 
should all go together to London, and that 
the Orsinis should take leave of the Cliffords 
there. 

A long day's journey, in two heavy 
family coaches, lay before them ; but to 
them it appeared neither tedious nor un- 
interesting. The princess, on the contrary, 
was in admiration at the rapidity with 
which the English coachman and horses 



90 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

conducted them. They stopped at a pretty 
way-side inn to dine and sleep, and the 
shades of evening, on the following day, 
had closed in before they reached Wimble- 
don Common ; and climbing up the steep 
hill that led to it from Kingston-on-Thames, 
arrived at the most precarious part of their 
journey, that locality being specially in- 
fested with highwaymen. 

The whole party had from time to time left 
the carriage, and refreshed their cramped 
limbs by walking up some of the hills ; but 
on reaching the too notorious common in 
question, it was considered too dark to do 
otherwise than get over the ground quickly, 
and hasten towards the safety of the sub- 
burbs. 

Andrea had been inquiring if there were 
likely to be any banditti on the road, and 
was not altogether displeased to find that 
even Englishmen, who seemed to him to 
be for ever boasting of their superiority, 
lived (in those days) in a wholesome fear of 
highwaymen. Only when he ascertained 
that there were no mountains, into the 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 91 

recesses of which the victims were carried, 
and from thence were either ransomed by 
their friends or, faihng that, hung on the 
nearest tree, he looked upon Dick Turpin 
and his class as very inferior to the more 
desperate and more thoroughly organised 
bands that sometimes descend upon poor 
travellers from the heights above Terracina, 
and despoil them of all. 

A wood lay to their left, with wooden 
palings and with handsome park gates, 
surmounted by griffins ; on the other hand, 
a. yellow sand-bank, covered with golden 
furze-bushes ; and here the road was so 
steep that the horses had to walk ; but not 
even the coachman alighted. Urging on 
his tired steeds, he was anxious to be safe 
beyond the wild heath that lay before him. 

Soon they were in the broad, dimly- 
lighted main street of Fulham, innocent of 
gas ; and now crossing Putney Bridge, over 
the silver Thames, flowing silently in the 
moonlight, and with the square tower of the 
old church reflected in a broken image on 
the eddies rippling in the night- wind. 



92 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

And now tliey reach the great metropoKs, 
and, passing through the turnpike at Hyde 
Park Corner, alighted weary and hungry 
at the mansion of the Chfford's in Picca- 
dilly. 

Those were the days when Foote and 
Garrick acted, when Oliver Goldsmith 
dressed in a canary -coloured coat, and the 
ponderous Johnson perversely Latinized the 
English language, and so bequeathed it to 
us. But we have nothing to do with all 
that. Ours is a story of life as it might 
have been in almost any modern time, and 
we are anxious not to alienate our readers 
from sympathy with the characters in our 
book, by proving to them that our heroes 
and heroines lived differently and spoke 
differently from what we do ourselves in 
our own times. Trifling as these things 
may seem, our habits of thought are too 
much mixed up with them for us not to be 
strongly influenced by them. We find a 
deeper interest, perhaps, in the great and 
heroic deeds of those whose names have 
been consecrated by time and history. But 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 93 

stories of domestic life must be cast in our 
own mould for us to care about them. We 
therefore leave our friends to visit the 
sights and attend the theatres of a very 
diflerent London from ours ; and the Orsinis 
having quitted its fogs for their own bright 
Florence, we follow Lord and Lady Clifford 
back to the deep shades of Nutley Hall. 

The winter set in early, and the quiet 
routine of her home life presented few 
stirring events to kindle the warm imagi- 
nation of Angela's Italian nature. But she 
possessed to the fullest measure the quiet 
intensity that belongs to the Roman cha- 
racter. Not excitable, like the Neapoli- 
tans ; not treacherous, like the Piedmontese ; 
calm, grand, and patient, unless violently 
roused — then for one moment will the 
passive depths of those Roman souls boil up 
in an overwhelming outburst. The deep 
passion that lurks in those black eyes, and 
hovers round those chiselled lips, takes 
their owner by storm. Deeds, that an 
instant before they could not contemplate, 
are in a moment executed, almost as much 



94 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

to the surprise of tlie actor as of the spec- 
tators. Ah ! the lazy strength that lies in 
those arched brows and moulds the brain of 
those classic heads. Gentle as a woman, 
proud as a lion, sleeping in the dreamy 
sunshine of a whole Italian life, but from 
time to time suddenly roused, and then 
betraying intensity and power, intellect and 
emotion, unknown to our northern lands. 
Beware of the quiet patience that seems so 
all-enduring ; beware of a submission that 
is akin to indolence and indifference. One 
word may change the modern Eoman so 
suddenly and so completely that if you ever, 
under his stolid idleness, doubted that the 
blood of the old heroes was still mingling 
in his veins, you would be surprised and 
startled at the contrast between the lion 
sleeping and the lion roused. And yet the 
noble instincts of the past have died out of 
them, if the hotter passions have not. Dis- 
trustful in their friendships (we doubt if a 
Roman trusts even his own shadow), yet 
yielding a ready credulity to any charlatan 
who will flatter their indolence and their 



TEE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 95 

vanity ; arrogant and proud, yet mean, and 
•even sordid in private life ; a people com- 
manding tlie greatest variety of qualities 
and character under a singularly uniform 
exterior ; the deepest of politicians and the 
most inane of idlers; capacity and genius 
almost beyond limit, or a narrow groove of 
uneducated stupidity ; a people difficult to 
love (unless love can exist without trust), 
and yet impossible to hate ! 

Angela was too happy in her domestic 
life to pine for excitement. Wrapped up 
in her husband, and devoting to him the 
concentrated love of her nature, undivided 
by the affection that, had she married in 
her own land, she would have shared with 
other family ties, and constantly occupied 
in the care of Rose and Teresa, the time 
never hung heavy. Her musical trdents 
were a greater resource to her than read- 
ing, for Italian women read but little. It 
could not, however, be said by any one who 
knew her well that her mind was unedu- 
cated. She had received that education 
which is derived less from books than 



96 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

gathered by a naturally inquiring mind 
from all the objects about her. She had a 
retentive memory, and nothing said before 
her escaped her notice. In addition to 
these qualities, she had a deep fund of 
poetic feeling, which threw a charm to 
herself over all she saw, and to others over 
all she said or did. Angela had never 
written a line of poetry in her life, but she 
had a rhythm in her thoughts which gave 
harmony to her words and her actions. 

It is very rare to find any but our own 
countrywomen who have a true feeling for 
nature. You seldom see a Frenchwoman 
who can tell you the names of the wild 
flowers, if you take a walk with her through 
the fields, or who knows the notes of the 
birds in the hedges, and can give you an 
idea of their habits. They have not that 
passionate love of nature that is far from 
uncommon in any well-bred young English 
girl, and which imparts a freshness to her 
mind and gives a charm to her quiet country 
life that no Paris-bred, convent-educated 
French girl ever possesses. Of course there 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 97 

are exceptions, but they are rare ; and in 
good proof of it you will find that tlie 
French rarely succeed in landscape paint- 
ing, and are only now beginning to appre- 
ciate the beautiful English school of water- 
colours. 

Not all the reading that ever young lady 
was subjected to, not even all the variety of 
languages she may have studied (and few 
things impart more pliability to the fancy 
and more vitality to the power of the intel- 
lect in a woman, than a free practical know- 
ledge of several languages), will give the 
charm to a woman's character in home life 
that she possesses by having acquired an 
early and a loving appreciation of external 
nature. The text book of Creation is a 
volume that spreads its own freshness and 
sunlight over those who study it. Perhaps 
it is a prejudice, but we never could feel 
ourselves likely to be greatly taken by 
any woman who had not on the whole a 
preference for the country. It is true, 
even to being trite : '' God made the country 
and man made the town." 

VOL. I. H 



98 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Angela formed one of the rare exceptions 
to the general rule of foreign women. She 
loved the country and she understood it. 
She did not limit her ideas of going into 
the country to three or four days, possibly 
weeks, of the hottest weather spent in an 
impossible dwelhng called a villa, and 
destitute of everything that can make life 
practicable for any period beyond the dog- 
days ; a house in which you start as a first 
principle on the fact that there never can 
be any serious occupation carried on within 
its walls, and that when the severity of the 
sun has a little subsided you hasten to quit 
and return to the capital ; resuming the 
existence of useful mortals after a brief 
interval of being simply nymphs. Angela 
had in all this respect learnt to be a 
thorough English lady. She had her gar- 
den, and her conservatories, and her trim 
lawns. But she loved, too, the wild-brier in 
the hedge, and the eglantine. She knew 
the spots where the Stella hostilia bespangled 
the ground with its pure white blossoms, 
and could tell you the haunts where the 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 99 

violets grew, blue and white. The tall fox- 
glove, the scarlet poppy, and the fern had 
a place in the china vases of her boudoir, in 
company with the stephanotis and the 
rarest roses. And it was in these things 
that the purity of her nature betrayed itself 
furtively, while it reigned and governed in 
the large-hearted charity of her relations 
with the poor ; and in the broad, warm, un- 
prejudiced sympathy she could feel with 
all classes, and even with all persons, where 
vice and vulgarity did not utterly obscure 
the original divine work. And even where 
it did, pity and not contempt covered her 
words and actions. 

It need hardly be said that with such a 
companion Lord Clifford's married life was 
a very happy one. He was proud of his 
beautiful and gifted Italian wife. She 
bloomed like an exotic flower in the low 
woodlands of Nutley Hall. The neighbours 
looked upon her as such, and might have 
been envious had not her warm demonstra- 
tive cordiality taken the cjuiet country 
people by storm, and turned emulation into 



100 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

worship. She spoke English perfectly, 
with just enough foreign accent to account 
for the ring in the rich tones of her Italian 
voice. Her words seemed to soar above 
jou in the air, and then fall full and vibrat- 
ing on your ear like the notes of an organ. 
And all the while the eyes played and 
glanced in their liquid depths, letting down 
the long fringed curtains of the lids, and 
raising them so suddenly as to produce a 
perpetual effect of light and shade in that 
glorious warm-tinted face. In all the 
events of common life she was calm and 
genial. The nervous fretful excitability so 
common amongst us Northerners was un- 
known and quite incomprehensible to the 
calm and rather slow appreciations of 
Angela's more stately organization. The 
mistake of a servant, the accidental failure 
of a domestic arrangement, no more ruffled 
her temper than the summer breath im- 
presses the waters of the Albano Lake, 
lying in its fathomless depth in the heart 
of an extinct volcano. But when her feel- 
ings were roused, they were roused like a 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 101 

very storm, making her whole being quiver 
to its centre, and threatening to shatter her 
reason. But the storm passed soon, and 
rehgion had so tempered its violence that 
though life seemed still to quail beneath the 
blast, her faith stood firm and spoke of sub- 
mission. 

Like most characters of this class, there 
was a wonderful tenacity in her sorrow. 
It seemed to pass off, and even beneath its 
influence her life with her husband was no 
less genial and full of charm. But one who 
knew her well would find from time to time 
that the point of the dagger had broke in the 
wound and rankled there, sapping her life, 
but making no outward sign. Mrs. Clif- 
ford's death had been one of these sorrows, 
and her health had failed from that hour. 

The long visit of the princess had done a 
great deal to cheer her, and consequently 
to benefit her health ; and now the having 
again possession of Teresa was a constant 
balm to her heart. She had a passion for 
children, and never saw a beggar's child, 
with the grand look of innocence and the 



102 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

bold, dignified confidence the baby blends 
with his utter helplessness, without feeling 
that she longed to have it for her own, and 
be to it a mother. 

Angela's health seemed so nearly restored 
that no question was mooted about leaving 
home again. The winter passed pleasantly, 
receiving their neighbours, returning their 
visits, and superintending the education of 
the two children. 

It was during this winter that Robert 
with his father's consent, came for a short 
time as a guest to Nutley Hall. Lord and 
Lady Clifford had not seen him except very 
briefly on their return from Italy through 
Paris, for some years, and both were anxious 
to judge for themselves of what he was in 
character and appearance. They could not 
conceal from themselves that there was 
much in Robert to give them uneasiness. 
He had the polished manners of a French 
gentleman of that day, but in spite of that 
there was a taste for the society of his 
inferiors which occasioned Lord Clifford 
considerable annoyance. With his own 



THE mODIGAL AT HOME. 103 

family he was polished, but false. With 
inferiors he was loud and coarse. He was 
not sparkling in conversation, but he was 
nevertheless a good scholar, and had much 
of his father s versatility, but less brilliancy. 
He spent great part of his time up at the 
castle. He had brought Yincenzo with him, 
but the latter had orders to remain at the 
castle until Robert returned to Paris. Mr. 
Clifford said that he had some business 
which he wished Yincenzo to execute at the 
castle. Probably he did not choose that 
the man should stop at Nut ley after the 
disturbance he had occasioned the preceding 
summer. Robert had full permission to 
ride his father s hunters. And Lord Clif- 
ford used to be rather annoyed by Robert 
from time to time declining to return to 
Nutley Hall, and saying he found it more 
convenient to sleep at the castle. He 
began by remonstrating with Robert on 
what sounded likely to be a very dull and 
solitary way of spending the evening, and 
thinking that Robert might not have 
ordered his groom to come and fetch back 



104 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

his hunter from the hall, he assured him 
that made no difference, and that the horse 
could be put up in his stables. But Eobert 
persisted, and Lord Clifford soon found out 
that the evenings were not spent alone, but 
that Robert was joined by one or two of the 
least respectable of the squireens of the 
neighbourhood, and Lord Clifford had reason 
to fear that drinking formed the principal 
amusement up to a late hour of the night. 

It was very difficult for Lord Clifford to 
interfere. It was the first time he had ever 
been allowed to have Eobert with him, and 
he shrank from anything that would make 
the young man dislike his first visit to his 
family, which he feared any remonstrance, 
however kindly given, certainly would do. 
It was still more difficult to communicate 
with Mr. Clifford on the subject. It would 
almost have seemed like saying to him, " It 
has turned out as I warned you it would do, 
from the strange education you have given 
Robert." 

Lord Clifford determined, therefore, to 
watch his opportunity, and trust to accident 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 105 

making an opening for him to speak quietly 
and calmly to Eobert about his associates. 

A few days after Lord Clifford had come 
to this determination, the hounds were to 
meet in Eaymond Park. Eobert had slept 
at the castle the previous night, upon some 
excuse or other, and Lord Clifford, there- 
fore, did not see him till they were at the 
cover side. It was one of those beauti- 
ful days, in the month of February, that 
come to us occasionally towards the close 
of winter — days full of the promise of 
spring. There had been a protracted frost, 
and a heavy snow storm a few days pre- 
vious. A rapid thaw had divested the 
earth of her white shroud^ and now the sun 
had regained his power, the raw dampness 
of the thaw had passed, and a genial moist 
wind fanned the cheeks of the eager 
hunters. 

The lark had begun to make mid-heaven 
musical. The wildfowl on the lake were 
sudden and clamorous in tlieir call to each 
other across the water. The primroses and 
violets had not yet appeared ; but you were 



106 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

tempted to look for them, and found your- 
self, in an unreasoning way, peering at the 
few tufts of green leaves in the hedges, as 
if you thought they, perhaps, might have 
mistaken the time, and decided on coming 
in flower a month too soon. 

Who has not felt themselves, after the 
experience of years, still childish enough to 
forget, from time to time, " that one swallow 
does not make a summer ?" 

There was a large field that bright Feb- 
ruary morning. Angela had driven to the 
meet in an open carriage, and both the 
girls were on their ponies. Most of the 
gentlemen were already at the cover-side 
before Eobert made his appearance. Lord 
Clifford had once or twice asked Teresa if 
she had seen her brother, and she perceived 
he was getting anxious at his not arriving, 
and was on the point of asking whether she 
should ride to the castle, which was close 
by, and find out if he were not going to 
hunt that day. But before she could exe- 
cute her intention Robert appeared, and 
two companions with him, mounted on his 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 107 

father's horses, and certainly not having 
much the appearance of gentlemen. They 
did not seem to be at all accustomed to the 
seat they now occupied, and they held their 
bridles very much as if they were squaring 
aims to pull at the oar. Lord Clifford pitied 
his brother's hunters whose mouths were 
subjected to such steering of the curb and 
snaffle. The men had each a short pipe in 
their mouths. One displayed a deep red 
muffler, and the other a bright blue one. 
In short, they were unmistakably more 
used to '' riding the main " than bestrid- 
ing a horse. These were Robert's com- 
panions. He himself came cantering up 
with them, looking so thoroughly at ease 
on his horse, so well, and yet not too well 
dressed for sport — so calm and gentleman- 
like^ that it seemed wonderful he should 
find any pleasure in the society of such 
men. He rode to another part of the field 
away from his uncle, and took no other 
notice of Lady Clifford, and his sister and 
cousin^ than just to lift his hat as he 
cantered past. Lord Clifford kept watch- 



108 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

ing his nephew with more anxiety than he 
watched the hounds, and certainly his day's 
sport seemed likely to be spoiled by all he 
thought and felt about what he saw. In 
the course of the day, several gentlemen 
asked him who those strange-looking men 
were who had ridden to cover with Robert ? 
Lord Clifford tried, in reply, to ascertain 
whether his interlocutors could give him 
any information. 

" Indeed, I do not know who they are," 
said his lordship^ " nor where Eobert picked 
them up. One of them hardly looks like 
an Englishman." 

"I am sure he is not," said the gentle- 
man in reply, " I heard him swear in too 
good French, on the other side of that last 
fence you took and which he evidently did 
not like, to be a native anywhere this side 
of the Channel. But the other, I think, is 
English. My own impression is they are 

smugglers. My bailiff had to go to B 

the other day about a team of horses I 
knew were for sale at a farm close to the 
coast, and as he was going into a public- 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 109 

house in the town, he saw that ItaHan valet 
of Mr. CHfford's coming out of the house, 
and to his surprise, your nejDhew was close 
behind him. My man Harris knew Mr. 
Robert, and the valet knew Harris ; and 
the Italian Yincenzo — is not that his name ? 
— whispered something to Mr. Eobert^ who 
looked vexed, and the two walked off. 
Harris stepped back into the public-house 
and called for another glass, because he 
rather wanted to find out what young Mr. 
lifford could be doing there." 

" And did he learn anything ?" asked 
Lord Clifford. 

" Well, really, I hardly like to say what 
he did hear, because I feel it may be making 
mischief; and I know what I have to say 
must be very disagreeable to you." 

'' Still I should be obliged to you to tell 
me all/' said Lord Clifford ; *' I am respon- 
sible to my brother for the lad's welfare, 
and I have for some time been apprehensive 
all was not right. He is much more at the 
castle than at the hall. Of course, he is at 
liberty to stay in his own house instead of 



110 THE buckly:n' shaig. 

mine, if he pleases, and since his father has 
given him permission. But at the same 
time, when he is there I have no control 
over his actions, nor am I even sure that he 
always is at the castle when he is not at 
the hall. He may be out for a day or a 
night, and I know nothing of it, and I have 
no opinion of that Italian valet of my 
brother's/' 

" Well, then. Lord Clifford, I am afraid 
he was out for a day and a night at the 
very least, when my bailiff saw him. He 
got the landlord into conversation, and 
asked him if he knew the parties that had 
just left ? He replied, he knew Mr. Yincent 
very well, and that he suspected the other 
was young Mr. Clifford ; but that he did 
not want to say anything. It was nothing 
to him who came to his house, so long as 
they behaved well while they were there. 
By degrees, Harris found out just this much. 
— that that fellow Yincenzo is more than sus- 
pected of having dealings with the smugglers 
along that coast. He was often backwards 
and forwards there, even when Mr. Clifford 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. Ill 

was at home. And it seems that he has 
been down once or twice within the last 
month, and Mr. Robert with him. Before 
he left the place, he ascertained that it was 
said the way the smugglers had been 
carrying on their business lately had got 
to such a pass that the coast-guard was 
about to be strengthened. And one of 
these days, there will be a regular fight 
between the smugglers and the coast-guard, 
and I only hope your young nephew is not 
rash enough ever to take part in these 
excursions for the sake of the adventure, 
and, perhaps, get into the fray and be 
wounded, or taken up." 

" I am very glad you have told me," said 
Lord Clifibrd ; *' I must see about it, and 
speak to the foolish lad before more harm 
comes of it. I wish my brother would part 
with that Genoese servant of his. I am 
afraid the man is a sad rascal." 

At this moment the huntsman rang out 
a view-halloo, the hounds had scented a 
second fox, and setting spurs to their horses. 
Lord Clifford and his informant were dash- 



112 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

ing across the plain, flying over the fence ; 
and out of sight and out of mind were 
Eobert and the smugglers, and all dangers, 
however imminent, save always the danger 
of losing the hounds. Everything was 
forgotten for the next forty minutes. A 
capital run — ^the best of the season. They 
knew the fox well, he had given them the 
slip three weeks before ; but this time they 
were sure of him. A fresh westerly wind 
blowing in your face as you galloped over 
the smooth turf of those undulating hills, 
a good horse under you who is enjoying 
the sport as much as yourself, and whom 
you know you can perfectly trust over that 
rather awkward fence with a ditch the 
other side that you and he are both equally 
eager to leap, the melodious notes of the 
hounds in full cry, just in front of you^ tails 
straight, noses well to the ground — on they 
go ! — in at that gap — take care of the 
stragglers ! — over the hedge after them, 
and in at the death ! Not the most devoted 
of uncles could be expected to be thinking 
of a scapegrace of a nephew during such a 



THE PRODIGAL AT HOME. 113 

time as that ! Neither did Lord Clifford. 
And when, slowly riding home, he recol- 
lected all he had heard, Eobert was nowhere 
to be seen. They sat down to dinner an 
hour and a half after time that evening. 
Eobert was not there. Of course, he had 
gone back to the castle. In the morning, 
Lord Clifford would see him, and with this 
resolve dismissed the anxious subject from 
his thoughts. 



VOL. I. 



114 THE BUCKLYX SHAia. 



CHAPTEE YI. 

THE fisherman's HUT. 

The low coast opposite the straggling village 

of B (since then become a little town 

of some importance) was a well-know^n 
resort of smugglers. The country was 
perfectly flat for some distance inland, 
which deprived the coast-guard of the 
advantage of any eminence from whence 
to watch the slippery little crafts that 
managed to sail in and out of those deep, 
tide-fretted creeks so often, under shelter of 
a dark night. 

Moreover, in those days, unhappily for 
the coast-guard, the sympathies of the 
population were far more generally enlisted 
in favour of French cognac, French lace. 



THE fisherman's HUT. 115 

and Lyons silks, than of His Majesty's 
revenue. Malicious tongues would even go 
so far as to wonder liow it was that the 
parson, not a very rich man, was able to 
afford a few bottles of real champagne, not 
made from his own gooseberry bushes, at 
the dinner he gave somewhen at Christmas 
tide. No one wore such beautiful gloves as 
his rather pretty little wife, and somehow her 
friends had reason to complain that slie 
never would tell where she bought them, 
nor acknowledge what she paid for them. 
One thing is certain, namely, that in the 

obscure village of B and in its near 

neighbourhood, you could, if you only 
knew how to set about it, procure occasion- 
ally and cheaply a variety of small luxuries 
not always to be 'got in the great metropolis, 
unless you were able to pay a very high 
price. You could not always depend upon 
getting things exactly at the season you most 
required them. It was all a chance, as it 
were. For instance, you were far more 
likely to be able to obtain a pretty light 
summer silk, somewhere in the gloomy days 



116 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

of November, than during the bright days 
and short nights of May and June. In 
short, like all other bargains, the occasional 
wares of that sea-side place were bought 
when you could get them a great deal 
more than when you wanted them. 

The morning after the good run we have 
described in the last chapter, the westerly 
wind had brought on a fine drizzling rain, 
and it seemed thoroughly set in for a wet 
day. The murky clouds hung low, the 
breeze sighed in the barren branches, every 
twig hanging out a diamond drop; and 
under foot the decaying brown leaves were 
saturated with moisture, and when you 
stepped on them emitted a sound like tread- 
ing on sponges. 

Lord Clifford was still loitering over his 
paper and the breakfast-table, when Teresa 
came in and said : 

" Uncle George, I have had a message 
from Eobert to say he is gone up to London 
for a day or two ; that he meant to have 
come to see you and Aunt Angela before 
doing so, but the morning being so wet he 



THE fisherman's HUT. 117 

thought he had better go straight to Black- 
dean to catch the coach." 

Lord CKfford's brow clouded, and he 
looked a little puzzled at this message. 
After a moment's reflection, he replied : 

" Why, the coach does not start for 
London till one o'clock. What has made 
him go so early ? Who brought the 
message, Teresa ?" 

" William, the groom, uncle ; he asked to 
see me." 

Lord Clifford rang the bell, and desired 
the servant to send William to the door. 
When he appeared. Lord Clifford said : 

" At what hour did Mr. Eobert leave, 
William ?" 

" At eight o'clock, my lord." 

" And where do you say he is gone ?" 

" I was to tell Miss Teresa, my lord, he 
was gone to London." 

" Who did he take with him, and what 
arrangements did he make for the gig and 
horse coming back from Blackdean ?" 

" He has taken Mr. Yincenzo ; and the 
two gentlemen who were stopping there, 



118 THE BUCKLY^^- SHATG. 

my lord, they have gone in their own trap 
that they came in, but whether or no they 
have gone to London, I can't say ; but Mr. 
Robert did not give any orders abont the 
gig. I asked Mr. Eobert if I were to meet 
it, but he told me the horse would be safe 
enough. I was to mind my own business, 
he said, and give that message to Miss 
Teresa, and nothing more. That's all I 
know about it, my lord." 

And that was evidently all anybody 
knew about it. It seemed more than im- 
probable that Eobert was gone to Black- 
dean, or to London ; where then was he 
gone ? He had Yincenzo with him, who 
was old enough to know what he was 
about ; but with Lord Clifford's opinion of 
the man, this gave him but small assurance 
that his nephew was not likely to get into 
some scrape of a serious nature. Lord 
Clifford sent a groom on horseback to the 
inn at Blackdean to inquire. The gig had 
not been left there, neither were Mr. Ro- 
bert's and Yincenzo's names booked at the 
coach-office as passengers to London by the 



THE fisherman's HUT. 119 

** Telegraph," starting that afternoon at one 
o clock from the "Half Moon" inn. 

It was a mystery and an anxious one. 
But Lord Clifford could do nothing but wait 
and hope for the best. 

The weather was quite as gloomy, though 
not quite so wet, down by the sea-coast of 

B as it was at Nutley Hall on the morn- 

inofwe have described. The wind rose more 
fitfully, and moaned more sadly over those 
low sands and wide shingly beach than 
even among the trees of Raymond Park. 
Black masses of cloud scurried across the 
sky and hung low on the horizon, and 
towards evening there ran a long line of 
pale yellow light, just where sea and sky 
seemed to mingle in one, which spoke 
ominously of coming storm. 

In spite of the apparent flat surface of 
the coast, when you came to walk along it 
you found that there was a succession of 
sand-drifts formed into banks, many of 
which were twenty feet high at least. In 
stormy weather, when the tide was high, the 
sea ran far up into these narrow creeks, but 



120 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

the action of the wind had carried on the 
sand beyond any point the water reached, 
even in the roughest weather. On the land 
side of these sand-banks there was a salt- 
marshy broken here and there by dry patches 
of land, and nowhere very deep. The 
marshy ground was treacherous, for you 
fancied yourself about to walk on the 
greenest and most beautiful moss, when 
suddenly it gave way beneath your tread, 
and you found your footing anything but 
secure. Prickly sea-plants and yellow sea- 
thistles grew on the top of these sand-banks, 
not in any great profusion, but sufficient to 
repeat on land the pale glaucous green of 
the summer sea. 

Leaning against one of the deepest of 
these sand-banks, you might have found a 
low, thatched cottage. As you clambered 
up to the top of the bank a curl of blue 
smoke surprised you ; for you might almost 
have stepped down upon the thatched 
roof of the humble habitation beneath you 
before you became aware of its presence. 
It stood sheltered and concealed between 



TDE fisherman's HUT. 121 

two sand-drifts. The building consisted of 
the ground floor, and a few low bedrooms in 
the roof. It was a curious, rambling habi- 
tation. There seemed to be several out- 
houses, a stable for two or three horses, 
and a shed for a cart ; but all so crowded 
together, and so small in each compartment, 
that it looked much like the fragment of an 
Irish village. 

At about twelve o'clock on the same day 
the two nautical gentlemen, whom we have 
already seen so much out of their element in 
Lord Clifford's happy hunting-fields, were 
to be met coasting along the marshy ground 
to the inland side of the sand-ridge we have 
just described. They were smoking as usual. 
But they had left their trap at a friend's 
house in the village, and had come about a 
mile on foot. The elder of the two gave a 
low and peculiar whistle, as he stood by the 
closed door of the house. The windows 
were rather high up in the wall, and the two 
that were visible in front were not much 
larger than a good-sized pocket-handker- 
chief. There was no reply to the low 



122 THE BUCKLYX SHATG. 

whistle, no sound of life from inside the 
cottage door. The elder man turned to the 
younger, who was standing behind him, 
and was looking up at the window as if he 
expected to see some token that the house 
was not empty. 

" I say, Jacques," said the elder man, " I 
guess Annette will understand your whistle 
better than mine. You try." 

Jacques blushed as deep a red as his own 
voluminous neck- tie, and uttered another 
whistle in quite another key. The effect 
was instantaneous. They heard the taking 
down of a bar and the drawing of bolts, and 
presently in the open doorway, stood as 
bright and beautiful a maiden as ever 
gladdened cottage or palace. 

Annette Barrow, the smuggler's daughter, 
was about seventeen. Ned Barrow was an 
honest (so he thought himself) English 
fisherman. But as the fish that came most 
readily to his net swarmed nearer the 
French than the English coast, Ned Bar- 
row had fallen in love, some twenty years 
ago^ with a dark-browed, rough-voiced 



THE fisherman's HUT. 123 

Frenchwoman ; so that Annette might be 
said to belong to either nation, and cer- 
tainly had gleaned her own fair portion 
from the merits of each. She wore a full, 
short, red petticoat, ^her dark blue skirt was 
looped up over it by the skirt being pulled 
through the pocket-holes. The bodice was 
tight fitting to the neatest figure and the 
trimmest waist that ever were seen. The 
sleeves of the bodice were short, ending in 
a lappet a little below the shoulders ; but 
there were tight red sleeves matching the 
petticoat, below the lappets. The sleeves 
were neatly buttoned round the wrist of a 
little white dimpled hand with rosy-tipped 
fingers, that gleamed and flitted before you, 
and seemed now close to you, and now 
snatched away from you as Annette laid 
the table and prepared the dinner or sat at 
her work, in a way that was perfectly be- 
wildering, and which, whether you would 
or no, you could not help observing. A 
small head, crowned with rather wavy 
black hair, which grew low and thick upon 
her white brow; and thicker still, and 



124 THE BUCKLYN- SHAIG. 

without a single straggling hair, round 
the nape of her ivory neck ; two laughing 
eyes with very long under lashes; full, 
round red lips, and teeth so small and even 
that they resembled the dazzling pearls in 
an infant's mouth ; a warm smooth com- 
plexion, and a ringing voice, with a slight 
foreign accent; all combined to make 
Annette one of the most fascinating of 
maidens, and certainly entitled her to the 
place she held in the affections of the 
bronzed, bearded^ and handsome young man 
who answered to the name of Jacques, and 
who was a French ally of the English 
smugglers. 

Ned Barrow chucked her under the chin 
as he entered the cottage, and Jacques, 
under cover of his intended father-in-law's 
broad shoulders, caught the little hand that 
lifted the latch, and kissed it. 

" Annette, child, where is madame ?" said 
Ned, looking round the small room. 

" She is gone father, on the rocks now 
the tide is out, to pick up some small crabs 
for supper." 



TDE riSlI£llMA:N S Hi:'!'. 125 

*^ Gone out for crabs ! You do not mean 
it ? What does she know of where to find 
them?" 

" Oh !" said Annette, laughing, *' I mean 
real crabs this time, father." 

"I see, I see," said Ned. "Well, 
Annette, there are two gentlemen coming 
down here this evening, and you must get 
them a better supper than usual. I will 
provide the wine if you and madame will 
take care the fish is well dressed, and 
madame will have some of her nice little 
French dishes that I never can remember 
the names of, though I am very fond of 
eating them. They will be here before 
dusk. We expect some of our men in 
to-night with a good cargo, and these 
gentlemen are friends of ours." 

Our readers will need to be told what is 
the difference between catching real crabs 
and only catching crabs allegorically. 

It often happened that the smugglers re- 
turned from their excursion with only a few 
kegs of brandy or hollands, under cover of 
night when the tide was low. It was not 



126 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

always advisable or necessary to take the 
booty inland, as the risk thereby was 
increased^ and if incurred, the means of 
executing it in safety must have been pre- 
viously arranged and secured with those 
who were to receive it. Under these cir- 
cumstances it was usual to excavate the 
sand round the base of some of the low 
rocks, slippery with green sea-weed, w^iich 
covered the sands for at least a quarter of a 
mile out to sea. Of course the rocks that 
offered the best facility for this were known 
to the smugglers. Such as stood beetling 
over the sand afforded a slight temporary 
shelter ; or in some cases several low small 
rocks would enclose a little space of sand, 
where a hole could easily be dug, and a 
keg of spirits rapidly and safely buried. 

Annette knew the rocks, and understood 
the signs of a recent deposit, and it was her 
duty to carry a large basket and a small 
spade^ and after dusk_, or very early in the 
day, to go what was technically called, 
crab-catching. 

It must be borne in mind, that all these 



THE fisherman's iiut. 127 

smugglers were ostensibly fishermen, and 
there was nothing calculated to attract atten- 
tion in the fisherman's daughter being fre- 
quently down by the sea-side, nor in her 
carrying a large basket to help bring home 
some of her father's fish. Nor was it alto- 
gether without just reason, that we have 
mentioned the fact that Annette wore a 
very full red petticoat ; for, independent of 
its being the custom amongst the fisher- 
men's wives to have garments of this 
description, it not unfrequently happened 
that Annette's under clothing was partially 
composed of rolls of very valuable lace, 
and therefore it was convenient that her 
robes should be ample and well adapted to 
convey any slight additional bulk that 
might be introduced beneath the folds 
of her skirt. 

It was not long before madame returned 
from her excursion, a sufficiently successful 
one for Annette to declare she should fur- 
nish the guests with crab soup for that 
night's supper. 

There was a peculiar fascination in the life 



128 THE BUCKLYN" SHAIG. 

the fishermen and smugglers led. Apart from 
the grave fact that they lived on the viola- 
tion of their country's laws, they were not, 
on the whole, such bad men as might have 
been expected from this one great moral 
delinquency. . 

As fishermen they were a peaceful, brave- 
hearted race, characterized by the frankness 
and simplicity peculiar to those who live on 
the wide trackless fields of ocean, and draw 
their first and strongest impressions from 
the simple majesty and stern grandeur of 
the deep waters. They would (as a class) 
have shrunk from highway robbery, or from 
the mildest form of picking pockets. But to 
cheat the revenue was not, in their estima- 
tion, like robbing a man. The revenue 
was an impersonal power with which they 
had no sympathy ; an abstract principle of 
a tyrannical nature from which they were 
free to escape whenever they could. 

It is true that Annette, though brought 
up in the midst of it, had at times serious 
misgivings as to its being a right mode of 
life, arising chiefly from the fact that to 



THE fisherman's HUT. 129 

carry on that part of her father's business 
required so much caution and deception, a 
thing from which her innocent nature re- 
coiled. Annette had been, when quite a 
child, educated in France, for at the com- 
mencement of his married life, Ned Barrow 
had carried on his trade of fisherman, and 
his practice of smuggler, the other side of the 
channel, in the little seaport village where 
he had become acquainted with the bold, 
dark-browed Frenchwoman, now univer- 
sally called madame. There Annette had 
gone to school, and learnt her catechism 
under the care of the good old cure, and had 
never omitted going to church on Sundays 
and holidays, her father not having objected 
to his daughter being brought up in her 
mother's faith. She used to lament that in 
England they were so far from any Catholic 
chapel — there was none nearer than Nutley 
— and sometimes would speak of it to her 
mother. When she did so she perceived 
something in madame's manner that be- 
tokened an impression that there was that 
in their present mode of life which was 

VOL. I. K 



130 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

incompatible with a strict performance of 
their rehgious duties. Annette would look 
puzzled and anxious^ but madame would 
soon turn the conversation, ending by an 
affectionate caress, and a prophecy that her 
pretty Annette should some day marry, 
and leave the fisherman's hut, and live 
like a lady, and go to church when she 
pleased. 

But Annette loved Jacques, and Jacques 
too was a fisherman and a smuggler, and so 
there seemed to the poor girl no end to the 
painful mystery of right and wrong, and no 
chance of any light breaking in upon her 
conscientious doubts. But Annette had not 
forgotten the prayers she had learned at the 
end of her catechism, and she said them 
faithfully every night, with a certain hope 
that some day she should know more and 
be better guided. Meanwhile, she obeyed 
her father, respected her mother, and, above 
all, loved Jacques. 

And now the fisherman's cottage became 
a busy scene of preparation. Madame and 
Annette consulted on what they should lay 



THE fisherman's HUT. 131 

before their expected guests, and the men 
shortly after left the house and went on 
their separate business. Ned Barrow was 
going carefully to reconnoitre the various 
hiding-places known to the fishermen, and 
to form conjectures as to the exact spot 
where the party of fishermen returning home 
that night were most likely to land. 

Jacques went into the village and visited 
certain houses where he was well known, 
and communicated the intelligence of the 
expected return of the fishing-boats, and of 
the necessity for some of their people being 
at hand to convey the cargo on shore and 
carry it safely and secretly away to their 
various domiciles. He was then at a given 
hour to meet Robert Clifford and Yincenzo 
in a spot already decided upon by the latter, 
to whom this place was well known, and so 
bring them both unobserved to the fisher- 
man's cottage ; they having left the horse 
and gig at a wayside inn. 

At about eight o'clock that evening the 
white cloth covered the large table in 
Madame Barrow's front kitchen, the crab 



132 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

soup simmered in the bain-marie (one of the 
many French treasures that madame had 
embarked with her when she came over to 
England, a three days' stormy voyage in her 
husband's fishing-smack), and the whole 
house was redolent with the odour of fried 
fish. The fisherman's lad who lived in the 
house with them and went errands, and 
mended the nets through the long summer 
evenings, had been sent by Annette to the 
village to procure some fresh bread and 
other articles, and had just returned, and 
Madame Barrow was asking what sort of a 
night it was, and whether he had heard any 
news up in the village. 

Frank — for that was his name — had come 
in with an expression that seemed to denote 
he had important news to communicate, if 
only any one would be so good as to think 
it worth while to inquire of him. 

" It is a dark, bad night, madame. There 
is a drizzling rain now; but the wind is 
getting up. We shall have a regular sou'- 
wester before midnight. I hope our fellows 
will be able to land before it gets too bad to 



THE fisherman's HUT. 133 

attempt it. But that is not the worst, 
madame, that I have got to say. I stepped 
in for a few minutes at the * Three Fisher- 
men/ and I heard some men, sitting drink- 
ing in the bar-room, who were talking about 
some new fellows as have been sent down 
to join the coast-guard. Some say there are 
two more men, and some say four. Any- 
how, one thing is certain, the force is 
stronger than it was, and we must keep a 
double sharp look-out to-night. They only 
came this morning ; it is a pity as we had 
not known it sooner." 

Madame's brow darkened. Annette turned 
pale. 

" Did you see anything of the gentlemen 
your master is expecting here to-night, 
Frank," said madame. 

'' Well, I saw their horse and gig, for 
they have put it up at the ' Three Fisher- 
men." 

'* I wonder what they are coming for," 
said madame. " We shall have quite work 
enough on our hands, if there is any scuffle 
between our men and the coast-guard, with- 



134 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

out having strangers, and landsmen too, 
who know nothing about it, to look after. 
I don't mind Mr. Yincenzo of course, be- 
cause he is an old customer ; but I don't 
trust young gentlemen who come out of 
their way to spend an evening in a poor 
fisherman's hut. It can be no good they 
come after, and I'll tell you what it is, 
Annette," said madame, looking anxiously 
at her daughter, and lowering her voice as 
Frank left the kitchen, " I won't have these 
land-sharks coming after my pretty daughter, 
and making love to her, recollect that." 

" I am sure, mother, I do not want them," 
said Annette, turning very red and looking 
offended ; " and you know that very well, 
mother. I do not know why you should 
suddenly suppose they are coming on my 
account. I have never seen the young 
gentleman, and as for Mr. Yincenzo who 
comes so often, you know I cannot endure 
him, and always get out of his way when I 
can." 

" Well, well, child, I did not mean to 
hurt you, only you know I am suspicious of 



THE fisherman's HUT. 135 

any one wlio comes here, unless it be all in 
the way of business ; and if you find the 
young gentleman is in the way you can go 
to bed early ; I'll engage your father shall 
not object." 

It was not long before Ned Barrow re- 
turned, and madame communicated to him 
the tidings brought by Frank. The lad 
w^as sent for and made to repeat his story. 
It might be true, but it was too vague and 
imcertain to be relied upon. Nevertheless, 
it was better to be on the safe side, and 
Frank was sent off again, this time on 
horseback (for as we have already told our 
readers, there was stabling connected with 
the cottage, and Frank, though a fisher- 
man's boy, could ride, at least as well as 
Ned and Jacques, whom we saw not long 
ago out hunting), and under cover of night, 
to give notice to their friends in the 
neighbourhood, that they might muster in 
good force at a certain point, and be pre- 
pared to overpower the coast-guard by 
numbers, if there were a surprise, and they 
were driven to defend themselves. 



136 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

Ned Barrow was at the head of the 
smugglers on this part of the coast ; and, as 
our readers have no doubt perceived, not a 
man in indigent circumstances. He was the 
chief of a clan of fishermen ; he owned 
nearly all the skiffs employed in fishing on 
that coast ; for in those days, when fishing 
and smuggling were so often combined, it 
had become an organized business ; one re- 
quiring discretion and prudence in the 
leaders^ and necessitating some command of 
men and boats. 

Frank had not returned from his mission, 
when Jacques' low whistle was heard at the 
door_, and on madame cautiously opening 
it, he came in, with Eobert Clifford and 
Yincenzo. 

Annette was placing on the table some 
glasses reserved for the guests, the mem- 
bers of the family drinking out of horn 
mugs. She turned her head as the men 
entered^ and Eobert thought he had seldom 
seen a brighter looking being. He took 
off his hat, and bowed to her, as he 
would have done to a lady in her own 



THE fisherman's HUT. 137 

drawing-room. Annette bowed slightly, 
but took no notice of Yincenzo. The time 
had been when the sly Italian had tried to 
snatch a kiss. Annette had deeply resented 
it, and partly the remembrance of this, and 
partly the presence of his young master, 
made Yincenzo quietly keep in the back- 
ground. 

Robert was awed by Annette's great 
beauty and natural dignity. He talked to 
the fisherman's daughter as he would have 
done to one of his own rank ; and though 
he scarcely took his eyes off her sweet face, 
there was nothing over bold in his manner. 
He soon perceived also how matters stood 
between her and Jacques, and in spite of 
his growing love for low company and low 
adventure, he was still too much of a 
gentleman not to behave with discretion 
and delicacy towards his host's daughter 
and his fellow-guests. He was only twenty 
years of age, and might still have been 
reclaimed from his evil courses, had any 
kind friend been at hand to influence 
him. 



138 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

The night was fast closing in. Frank 
had returned from the village. The fisher- 
men and smugglers were by degrees mus- 
tering in the neighbourhood of Ned Bar- 
row's cottage. A low whistle, a pass -word, 
a mysterious rap at the door, and one after 
the other of the roughly-clad, and well- 
muffled clan stood in the glare of the fisher- 
man's wood-fire and couple of oil-lamps that 
filled the kitchen with a red light. 

There was evidently a strong impression 
of fear amongst the smugglers that their 
friends expected to land that night, and 
supposed to bring some valuable booty with 
them besides fish, would be surprised by the 
coast-guard. There was a vague suspicion 
that something was about to happen. 
Every one had heard that the number 
of the coast-guard had been increased, yet 
no one could tell from whence the rumour 
came. 

According to the state of the tide, they 
expected the boats in about midnight. Till 
then, Ned Barrow's cottage was a perpetual 
shifting scene of men coming and going, 



THE fisherman's HUT. 139 

orders given to scouts sent to watch from 
different points, and those returning from 
time to time to state that all was quiet. 

Meanwhile, the dark pall of night had 
fallen on the blackened waters. The wind 
had risen wild and blustering. The rain 
pattered on the windows, and the blast tore 
round the house with a deep groan, end- 
ing in a shrill scream, and sobbing fitfully 
between the gusts. The stars were hidden 
by the dark masses of rolling cloud, and 
nothing could be seen on the great expanse 
of heaving waters, save the white-crested 
heads of the great breakers, riding on with 
tossed foam, like white-maned horses ; then 
bursting on the beach with the booming 
sound of cannon, and drawing back again 
their shattered waters with a harsh hissing 
on the pebbly beach. 

It was an awful night. Little children 
lay awake in their cots with wide open 
eyes, wondering if the wind were the voice 
of the lost souls. The fishermen's wives sat 
up feeding the fire and listening for foot- 
steps ; the pious and the good prayed for 



140 THE BUCKLTX SHAIG. 

the poor mariners ; and the happy thanked 
God for safety and shelter through that wild 
storm. 

But in Ned Barrow's cottage there was 
riot and noise, singing and drinking, throw- 
ing dice, and eager disputes. The red 
glare flashed on bronzed faces and swarthy 
brows. There were French among the 
guests as well as English, and there were 
landsmen from the village, who were in 
close league with the smugglers, and carried 
on the contraband trade in the country. 

It was a new page in rough life to 
Robert. Dashing and daring himself, 
vitiated by an evil education, but full of 
energy and youthful curiosity, he was 
delighted at, for once, realizing one of 
those wild nights in the smuggler's cottage, 
that Yincenzo had so often described to 
him. He came for a mere freak, but once 
there, he threw himself into the rough 
amusement of the house with all the energy 
of intemperate youth. Yincenzo was at 
home there, and through the riotous mirth 
had little odds and ends of business of his 



THE fisherman's HUT. 141 

own to transact, and was wily enough to 
keep cool and sober to the last. 

In the midst of the uproar, Ned Barrow 
never for a moment lost sight of the real 
cause of this gathering of his men. While 
doing the honours of his house to his 
guests, and superintending and directing all, 
the watchers returned from time to time 
from their stations on the coast, and he 
gave his orders calmly and distinctly. In 
anticipation of a possible attack, the men 
were to be armed, and their pistols were 
examined and their cutlasses sharpened, 
amid tales of daring adventure, loud 
choruses of hearty sea-songs, and toasts 
drunk in real good cognac. 

Long before the guests had become 
thoroughly riotous, the two women had 
retired to their chambers. Madame was 
not, however, intending to go .to rest. She 
came backwards and forwards as her hus- 
band called her, or as she perceived any- 
thing was wanted in the kitchen where the 
smugglers sat. She took no part in the 
revel, but she watched the orgies like a 



142 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

grim priestess, and ministered to tlie wants 
of the motley crew gathered beneath her 
low roof. 

Annette was supposed to be in bed and 
asleep. But there was no thought of sleep 
in Annette's large, anxious eyes. A pre- 
sentiment of evil crept over her heart, and 
made her restless and wakeful. She did 
not undress, but moved about her small 
room, opening and shutting drawers, 
arranging trifles that did not need it, and 
then, suddenly standing still in the middle 
of the room^ would listen to the loud winds, 
or bend her ear to the noise below, and 
fancy she could catch the sounds of Jacques' 
voice, and would wish him away from such 
scenes, and herself too ; and as the night 
grew on Annette became more nervous and 
more restless. 

By degrees the sounds of riot below grew 
fainter, she heard the door open and shut, 
as one by one the smugglers went forth to 
meet again at various points along the 
coast. She opened the door again and 
listened. She heard the door open at the 



THE fisherman's HUT. 143 

foot of the stairs, that led into the kitchen ; 
there was a dim light in the passage. It 
was Jacques standing at the foot of the 
stairs. What did he want ? She came 
out upon the landing. He whispered her 
name, and in a moment Annette was by his 
side. 

" I wanted to wish you good -night, 
Annette. I am going now. It is a rough 
night, and something tells me our fellows 
will not land in safety." 

There was a tone of sadness in his voice. 

" Why do you go, Jacques ?" she said, 
slipping her small hand into his brawny 
palm. 

« Why do I go, my little one ? What a 
question ! I go to bring you a silk dress, 
or something else you will like as well." 
He said this lightly, then, drawing her 
nearer, added softly, " One kiss, Annette, 
before we part. Think of me. We shall 
meet again soon." 

Annette granted the one kiss, and a 
vague dread pierced her heart as Jacques 
spoke. Quick as thought, she took a small 



144 THE BUCKLYN SITAIG, 

black cord that she wore round her neck, 
with a crucifix attached to it, and holding 
it to his Hps to kiss, passed the cord over 
his head, and said : 

" Keep that, and think of It and me." 

He hid the sacred image in his breast, 
and the tears started to his eyes. 

" One day, Annette, you and I will leave 
all this," flinging his hand contemptuously 
towards the room where the loud voices of 
the revellers were heard, " and live as we 
thought to have done when M. le Cure 
taught us our catechism together. Pray 
for that, Annette." 

Before she had time to answer he had 
turned suddenly away, and with oue quick 
parting look of affection, not unmixed with 
anxiety, he closed the door behind him, and 
was gone. 

Annette paused. He had hardly re-en- 
tered the room when one of the others made 
some jesting remark, to which Jacques 
replied with a ringing laugh. In another 
moment she heard him say he was ready to 
go. One or two others declared their inten- 



THE fisherman's HUT. 145 

tion of accompanying liim, and Annette 
listened to the retreating footsteps. 

Sadly and slowly slie crept back to her 
little room. Why did it look so empty, so 
desolate ? The ceiling seemed to press down 
upon her brow, the four walls to close in 
upon her. The trim little nest where 
Annette had slept away so many peaceful 
nights seemed like a prison to her now. 
Her heart beat loud and fast with anxiety 
and vague dread. What was the heavy 
weight at her heart ? And yet she was 
glad Jacques had spoken those words. He 
too, she thought, was weary of this rough 
life : he, like herself, was more than doubt- 
ful of its being right. He had reminded 
her of the days when he used to call at 
their cottage in France, to take her with 
him on Sunday afternoons to the catechiz- 
ing in the church. They were neighbours, 
and as he was the eldest he was trusted to 
see the little Annette safe through the 
streets to the old parish church, and bacji 
again. Their courtship had begun in those 
early days, and now poor Jacques, like 

VOL. I. L 



146 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

Annette, was pining for the lost innocence 
and peacefulness of tliat long past, but un- 
forgotten time. Annette knelt down by 
the side of her little bed. Against the wall 
hung the Image of the Crucified, and with 
many tears she prayed that redeeming 
mercy might take compassion on her and 
on him she loved, and that they might ere 
long make their peace with God and man, 
and live within the laws of both. 

The night wore on, but the storm con- 
tinued with unabated violence, and neither 
madame nor Annette went to bed, though 
the former looked in once or twice and 
remonstrated with the latter for sitting up. 
At length both women, feeling the need of 
each other's company, though neither openly 
avowed it, relinquished all idea of sleep, 
until the party should return home ; and 
they gave themselves deliberately up to 
watching the storm. Wildly it whistled 
round and round the house, with a spite- 
ful capriciousness that seemed like the 
working of an evil spirit. The wind rose 
with a shrill scream, and then seemed to lie 



THE fisherman's HUT. 147 

down and moan like a creature in pain. 
Sometimes madame opened the door a few- 
inches and peered out into the dark night, 
but, seeing nothing save blackness, she 
would climb to one of the upper windows 
and try to discover a light in the distance, 
or to hear any sound beyond the surging 
of the waves and the roaring of the wind. 

They kept the fire alight, and sat hover- 
ing over it. At length madame, leaning 
back in the gaunt, wooden arm-chair, that 
had been made tolerably comfortable by a 
collection of cushions covered with patch- 
work tucked into all parts of the back, arms, 
and seat, fell into a doze, starting from time 
to time in her uneasy sleep, and relapsing 
again against her will. 

Not so Annette. With every nerve be- 
come doubly keen from anxiety, she sat and 
watched, and listened. Presently she began 
to perceive that the wind had sunk, and that 
the sobbing of the blast came more seldom 
and less loud. She ventured to open the 
door, and with straining eyes looked towards 
the sea. It was not long before she saw 



148 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

dark figures, that seemed to detacla them- 
selves gradually and indistinctly from the 
black air and approach towards the cottage. 
She flew back, and catching her mother's 
arm, awoke her with a scream. Madame 
went to the door, and soon perceived two 
men were carrying a third, and that behind 
followed two more, one of whom seemed to 
walk with dijBficulty. 

Annette was the first to recognise the 
form of the wounded man, who was carried 
by Frank and one of the fishermen. She 
gave a stifled cry, and madame, at the same 
moment catching sight of Jacques' death- 
like face, said to her : 

" Gro in, Annette — go in, my child." 

Annette stood behind her mother, rooted 
to the spot ; nothing but force would have 
made her go in at that moment. In another 
second the five men had entered the house, 
and the wounded man was laid on the 
ground. He had fainted ; the blood was 
flowing from a sabre cut in his breast. 

In a moment madame and Annette fetched 
a mattress, which was laid on a large 



THE fisherman's HUT. 149 

chest, and a temporary bed made for the 
sufferer. 

A few words told the whole story. They 
had been watched when and where they 
least apprehended it. There was a suppo- 
sition that one of their own men had be- 
trayed them. While aiding the landing of 
the fishermen, whom they had that night 
expected, the coast-guard had suddenly come 
down upon them. Such of the boats as had 
not landed their men put back to sea. The 
men had drawn their cutlasses. One of the 
coast-guard was killed. Jacques had re- 
ceived a mortal wound in attempting to 
rescue Ned Barrow, who was taken prisoner 
by two of the coast-guard. Eobert Clifford 
had received a cut on the leg, in the midst 
of the fray, and had been hurried away by 
Vincenzo, without whose aid he was unable 
to walk. 

Several of the fishermen and smugglers 
that escaped came to the cottage, each with 
his own account of that night's disaster. 

The scene that a few hours before had 
been one of loud revelry was now one of 



150 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

anguish and horror. In the midst of her 
unutterable anxiety and despair about her 
husband, madame had to attend to the two 
wounded men. 

Eobert Clifford was impatient to depart. 
His wound was not serious, but the lame- 
ness it caused rendered it impossible he 
should return to Eaymond Castle or Nutley 
Hall, without being exposed to inconvenient 
questioning and consequent discovery. 
After a brief council with Yincenzo, it was 
decided that, as the term of his intended 
stay in England was nearly at a close, they 
should go up to London with their own gig 
and horse, and that, when sufficiently reco- 
vered_, Robert should return to Paris. He 
could account, by any plausible untruth, for 
having met with a slight accident, and 
would take care to be off before there could 
be any question of Lord Clifford's going up 
to see him. The coach did not go every 
day from Blackdean to London ; and though 
Lord Clifford, with what was universally 
considered his eccentric and extraordinary 
habit of taking his foreign wife frequently 



THE fisherman's HUT. 151 

abroad, was a most unusual exception, yet 
he was incapable of ''^ running up to town" 
in the easy way of more modern times, even 
those nearer our own day, but before the 
invention of railroads. It was settled that 
Frank should ride over to Raymond, and 
take a note to William, the contents of 
which he was to communicate to no one, 
appointing him to meet them in London on 
a certain day, and bring back the gig and 
horse. 

They had stanched the blood that flowed 
from Jacques' more serious wound; and 
madame, with streaming eyes and gestures 
of despair, was binding up the slight cut 
from which Robert Clifford was suffering ; 
while Yincenzo had gone to the " Three 
Fishermen " to fetch the gig. 

" Ah, sir," she said, in the midst of her 
sobs, " why did you ever come to the like 
of us ? It is not for young gentlemen like 
you to be frequenting poor fishermen's 
homes, and be getting within the grasp of 
those horrid men that your cruel English 
laws send down here for our torment. 



152 THE BUCKLYN SHATG. 

What will become of me, now that I have 
lost my brave man ? What will they do to 
him? Where will they take him? My 
good Ned, my poor husband !" As it was 
not much that could be said to her of a 
comforting nature, for there was little 
doubt of what poor Ned Barrow's fate 
would be, taken, as he was, red-handed, in 
open conflict with the representatives of 
those outraged rights of the revenue, her 
questions only led to fresh bursts of grief, 
and to passionate entreaties to Robert 
that he, being a great gentleman, would 
use his influence to save her husband from 
hanging. 

Robert could make but very little reply 
to these entreaties, for, in point of fact, 
appearances were as much against him as 
they were against Ned Barrow, and only 
that he had had the good luck to escape he 
might have been in terror for his own 
neck. More than half ashamed of himself, 
and angry at finding himself in such a 
position, he betrayed no little irritation at 
the unhappy woman's prayers. 



THE fisherman's HUT. 153 

Yincenzo perceived the difficulty in 
which his master was placed, and having 
returned with the gig, was only extremely 
anxious to get him, with himself, safe out 
of the house. 

" Now, madame," he said, pushing her 
away, and at the same time thrusting a 
piece of gold into her hand, "leave the 
young gentleman alone. He can do 
nothing for you, nor for your husband 
either. You are well paid with this for 
your night's entertainment. It is no fault 
of my master's, nor of mine, that Ned 
Barrow has got into trouble ; so hold your 
tongue, and let us be off." 

So saying, he helped the limping Robert 
into the gig, and prepared to follow him. 
He had not, however, done so before the 
French virago, in the heat of her rage, and 
the depths of her despair, had flung the 
golden guinea on the ground, and dealt a 
blow with her clenched fist at Yincenzo's 
face. 

"Take that, you pale-faced Italian vil- 
lain !'* she exclaimed, with glaring eyes red 



154 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

with tears, and streaming weird locks 
hanging dishevelled over her shoulders. 

" Who is it but you brings the young 
gentleman here to make him as bad as 
yourself? Don't I know your wicked 
practices this many a long day ? Would I 
not be glad to see your head on top of a 
pike ; aye, and help to put it there if I 
could? Beware of him, beware of him," 
she continued, addressing Robert, "young 
gentleman. You that come with a miserable 
valet to smoke and drink with poor fisher- 
men. He will be the curse of your family, 
and the ruin of you all, if you do not heed 
the words of Clotilde Barrow, the fisher- 
man's wife." 

Wild with her impassioned rage, she 
tossed her brawny arms in the air as she 
spoke. Her snake-like locks, her broad 
bosom, her tall figure, shook and trembled 
as she stood, like an inspired Pythoness, on 
the steps of her own door, with the red 
glare of the fire-light behind her ; while 
Robert and Yincenzo hurried away as the 
grey morn was breaking in the eastern sky. 



THE fisherman's HUT. 155 

A sweet, sad picture of a gentler sorrow 
than her own met the frenzied woman's 
eyes as she turned to enter the cottage. 
Annette was kneehng by the couch on 
which lay the ghastly form of poor Jacques. 
She stood still a moment, as if struck dumb 
with the vastness and variety of her sorrow, 
and gazed upon the group before her. 

"You will see him, Jacques?" said 
Annette in a low, pleading voice. "You 
will let him come and help you make your 
peace with God? Oh, Jacques, we have 
deserved this, and we are punished as we 
deserve." 

" Not you, my innocent child," he said. 
" You only did what you were taught, and 
I, who loved you, Annette, knew how pure 
you were, and ought to have warned you 
against myself, and against all around you. 
But what could I do, Annette? They 
were your own parents, and I was as bad 
as any. But it is all over, Annette, and 
the lessons of my boyhood come back upon 
me now, and the faith I hope to die in. 
So make haste, Annette, and let the priest 



156 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

be sent for. I have not many hours to 
live." 

As these words fell from his lips upon 
the ear of Clotilde Barrow, she bent her 
head upon her hands, and sobbed like a 
child. 

The priest was sent for. Frank was to 
call at the chapel-house on his way to 
Eaymond Castle, and tell Father Netherby 
of the dying man who needed his presence, 
and implore him to come quickly. 

At noon that day a far different scene 
from that midnight revel and its ghastly 
ending presented itself in the fisherman's 
cottage. The Prince of Peace Himself had 
been there, and the messenger of peace had 
spoken the last words of absolution. Still 
bending over the now placid face of the 
dying smuggler. Father Netherby was 
repeating to him the sweet sacred names 
that the Catholic tries to articulate with his 
last breath. Annette has ceased to weep 
as she kneels by the couch, gently holding 
the poor fingers that else had wandered 
clutchingly over the blood-stained sheet. 



THE fisherman's HUT. 157 

Madame Barrow, subdued and silent, stands 
with clasped bands at tbe feet of tbe dying 
man. Sbe is tbe first to see tbat all is 
over, and bending ber powerful arm round 
Annette's waist, sbe raises ber gently, but 
firmly, from tbe ground, and draws ber away 
witb tbe same silly words of tender endear- 
ment witb wbicb sbe bad striven in tbe 
years tbat were gone to sootbe ber darling 
in any of tbe sorrows of cbildbood. And 
Fatber Netberby drew tbe sbeet over tbe 
dead face of tbe repentant sinner. 

Tbe sbattered bark of bis young life bad 
been drawn into port, wrecked and broken ; 
but its precious freigbt of a living soul was 
landed on tbe sbores of eternity, amidst tbe 
tears of repentance and tbe beacon ligbt of 
Faitb. 



158 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 



CHAPTER YII. 
away to the south. 

The Lady Clifford to the Prixcess 
Orsini. 

"Nutley Hall, September 18th. 
" My dearest Louise, 

" You will be grieved to bear that my 
fears about my own poor bealtb, expressed 
in my former letter, were but too justly 
founded. I caught a fresh cold the begin- 
ning of this month, and the old cough and 
all the former symptoms have returned. 
And, alas ! with the old malady has come 
back the longing to breathe again my 
native air — the pining for home ; not the 
home of my affection, which, God knows, 



AWAY TO THE SOUTH. 159 

is here, in the land of my adoption, but the 
home of my girlhood, the land of my birth, 
I love England, with its wayward, uncer- 
tain charms and journaliere beauty, the 
sweet surprises of its rare and unexpected 
warm days, and the fitful glory of its 
varied skies ; but the moment that cold, 
clammy hand seizes me, that raw, damp 
feeling of approaching winter, back to my 
heart rushes all my Italian blood, and I 
feel, yes, dear Louise, I really feel as if I 
should die if I remained away from my 
own clear skies and transparent atmo- 
sphere. I grieve that it should be so, for 
I am ashamed to have married an English- 
man and to be for ever dragging him away 
from his noble house and his home duties. 
I am ashamed to expose him, as it does do, 
to the astonishment of all his acquaintance 
at these wild, erratic habits, and to the 
weary long journey, with its perils, its 
risks, and enormous expense. 

" The only thing that comforts me is, 
that George really does not dislike the long 
days that we sit in the family coach, behind 



160 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

the rough horses and the hugely-booted 
postilions, up hill, down dale, through 
tedious France. 

" Even the sea passage, so dreaded by me, 
and so terrible in its uncertainties, has 
charms for him. The blood of the old sea 
kings runs in his veins, and has tinged his 
hair as it has that of my own fair Rose. I 
wonder we have courage to take so young 
a child such a fearful journey ; but it 
would require more to leave her behind. 

" I long fought against going away, and 
fully meant this time to have resisted 
George's persuasions, even at the cost of 
my life ; but while I was doing so, and 
thinking I should gain my point, the more 
alarming symptoms were renewed. I broke 
a blood-vessel again, on the 10th of last 
month, and after that George would listen 
to no more arguments. My doom was 
sealed. Can I say I regretted it? My 
heart bounded with hope as, kept to 
my bed, silent, and fed only on ice and 
milk for ten days, I left all the labour of 
preparation to my poor husband and my 



AWAY TO THE SOUTH. 161 

friends, and lay dreaming of Rome and 
Italy. 

" I am glad to say that Roger, who is 
again at the castle, intends remaining all 
the time of our absence. This will be of 
use to George, who, as you know, places 
unbounded confidence in his brother, and 
will leave much of the business of the 
estate in his hands. I wish Roger had 
allowed us to take Teresa with us to Italy. 
But as he will not do so, the next best 
thing is that she should return to the 
Ursuline Convent in Paris. I dread part- 
ing with the darling child more than I can 
express ; but (you know my feelings on 
this point, Louise) anything is better than 
her having to live alone with her father at 
Raymond Castle. I do not think he is to 
be trusted with the care of a delicate and 
sensitive girl ; and I do not believe the fact 
that Robert is to return next year would 
make it better for Teresa. Considering all 
the anxiety that boy has caused us, and his 
mysterious conduct in leaving home, and 
taking leave of no one, I do not imagine 

VOL. I. M 



162 THE BUCKLTN SHATG. 

he would be a good companion for Teresa. 
When Eoger returned a month ago he did 
not seem much affected by what George 
told him about Eobert ; and that wretched 
Yincenzo is still in his service. It is a 
hopeless case." 



" Paris, Sept. 30. 

" Ah ! Louise, I write with a heavy heart. 
I have parted with my sweet Teresa, that 
dear child of my adoption whom I love as 
my very own, and for whose welfare I feel 
almost more responsible. It is doubly hard 
to lose sight of the beloved child at an age 
when her companionship had become so pre- 
cious to me, and when every day I trace mote 
of her mother's mind and character, and see 
in her the image of my early friend unfold- 
ing before me, and claiming a double portion 
of the affection I gave to her whom I lost. 

" This morning I took her to the convent 
of the Ursuline nuns in the Rue d'Enfer. 
You know they are strictly cloistered in that 
convent, though not so in many other houses 
of the same order. 



AWAY TO THE SOUTH. i6o 

" The carriage did not enter at the porte 
cocker^ that privilege being allowed to 
royalty alone. We slipped through the 
little door cut in the huge gates, and Eose, 
Madame de Bray, myself, Teresa, and poor 
weeping Dorothy, stood inside a covered 
court, the portress's lodge on the right, a 
little parlour, with glass doors, on the left, 
and in front another pair of huge gates, 
barred, bolted, and chained. Beyond that is 
the cloistered garden. We were shown into 
the little glass parlour, and there waited 
while the portress went to announce our 
arrival. 

" Teresa is greatly beloved in the convent, 
and all the community had requested to 
come down into the garden to receive her, 
as also a few of the scholars who were the 
child's favourite companions. Teresa had a 
consolation under the pain of parting that 
was wanting to us : she is much attached 
to the nuns, and felt, she said, that she was 
returning to a second home. 

" Presently we were summoned by the 
portress and two externe sisters, and we 



164 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

stood in front of the great gates while they 
unbarred them, so as to throw open one half. 
We heard the voices of the sisters on the 
other side calling Teresa's name gently and 
softly, though by no means in whispers ; 
and when the gate opened there stood the 
greater number of the good nuns waiting 
to welcome again their dear child. They 
stretched out their hands to receive her, and 
help her across the wooden bar, which did 
not open with the gate but kept us still 
separate from them. Teresa flung her arms 
round my neck, and Rose clung to her. 
Then in a moment, breaking from us, she 
skipped lightly over the bar. The reverend 
mother caught her in her arms, the others 
gathered round. The dear child looked 
back ; she was pale, and the tears stood in 
her eyes ; but she gave us a sweet smile, 
and kissed her hand to us. The great gate 
swung to, and I heard the clanking chain 
and the rusty bolt shutting me out from my 
darling, and as I turned away and wept, I 
felt as if it were for ever in this life. 

" It was however, decided we were to 



AAV AY TO THE SOUTH. 165 

take leave of her from behind the grille in 
the parlour iip-stairs, and accordingly we 
entered a long narrow room, divided by the 
iron grating and the black curtain down its 
entire length. The curtain opened, and 
there was again the sweet face of Teresa, 
with the tears all gone, and looking placid 
and at home. But we had had our last 
embrace, as no more than the tips of her 
little fingers could find their way through 
the bars, to satisfy poor little Rose's affec- 
tion. I cannot get that touching picture 
out of my mind. Teresa clinging to the 
venerable mother, in her dark serge dress 
and black veil, and looking back upon us^ 
her long beautiful hair having escaped from 
the blue ribbon that bound it, and hanging 
in rippling, gold-tipped ringlets round her 
delicate throat and her white dress. It was 
the image of Innocence in the arms of 
Religion ; and it haunts me still, sadly yet 
sweetly." 



166 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

AN OLD FRIEND. 

We must leave Lord and Lady Clifford to 
the happy effects of their sojourn in Eome, 
and Teresa to her studies in the convent,- 
and look back upon Roger and Raymond 
Castle. 

Judging from the immediate change in 
his mode of life, it appeared as if the 
absence of the family from Nutley Hall 
were a great relief to Roger. A vast deal 
of his moodiness seemed to pass away, the 
neighbours were invited to the castle ; there 
were sounds of life and merriment going on 
in the usually silent halls and corridors. 

Every morning Roger might be seen 
going out shooting with his friends. Lord 



AN OLD FRIEXD. 167 

Clifford had begged that he would shoot the 
Nutley covers during his absence, and this 
of course gave Roger an opportunity of 
showing more sport to his neighbours than 
his own small estate could afford. And 
even this slight increase of dignity and im- 
portance was acceptable to his vanity and 
ambition. 

Of an evening he would sit down to cards 
with his friends ; but partly because they 
would have proved unwilling, and partly 
from a fear of scandalizing the neighbour- 
hood and driving his companions from his 
society, Roger was compelled to play mo- 
derately, and for much lower stakes than 
was his usual habit. 

It was the second autumn since the Clif- 
fords had gone to Italy, and there was yet 
no talk of their return. Roger seemed to 
have taken to country sports, the manage- 
ment of his own estate, and the supervision 
of his brother's. It is true, from time to 
time a feverish restlessness would seize him 
and drive him to the capital for a short 
time to look up his old friends, visit his old 



168 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

haunts, and sometimes return with a party 
of quite a different caste from the country 
sporting gentlemen in the neighbourhood 
of Eaymond Castle. 

Once he went over to Paris for two 
months, and on his return showed, by the 
purchase of a couple of fine hunters, and 
by some improvements in the furniture of 
the old castle, that his visit had been a 
lucky one. On his return he seemed gayer 
than usual, and his house was still full of 
guests, when one bright morning in the 
middle of September he received the fol- 
lowing letter from an old friend and fre- 
quent companion of his, already once al- 
luded to in these pages, Mr. Henry Bethune. 
They had been acquainted as children, then 
had lost sight of each other, but had kept 
U2:> unbroken intercourse for the last five 
years. 

Henry Bethune, like Roger, had lived a 
great deal abroad, but chiefly in Germany ; 
whereas Roger's haunts had been Paris and 
Florence. Nevertheless it was at Paris 
that they met again, in one of those salons 



AX OLD FRIEND. 169 

not unfrequently found at tlie time of our 
story, wliere under the auspices of an agree- 
able and fascinating mistress, every luxury 
and the charm of agreeable society were 
combined with unlimited gambling. It was 
in one of those salons, of less than the demi- 
vionde, that the two friends renewed their 
friendship. By that time both were known 
for desperate players. But Henry Bethune 
was the superior of Eoger. He had a 
cooler head, and if possible a less scrupulous 
heart. It was his profession, and he ex- 
celled in it. 

The blood rushed to Roger's brow as he 
read his friend's letter, and rapidly thought 
that the moment approached when once 
again, in such congenial companionship, he 
should give loose to his favourite, nay, his 
only passion. 

The letter ran thus : 

'' Dear Roger, 

" Business has called me to London for a 
few days, and I cannot cross that horrid 
channel without giving myself the pleasure 



170 THE BUCKLTN SHAia. 

of seeing you in your own castle. Will you 
receive me on Tuesday next for four nights ? 
We will shoot every morning (for I am told 
you are devoted to sport, and are the best 
shot in the county), and amuse ourselves on 
the tapis vert every night; and you shall 
give me my revenge of the money you got 
out of me the last time we met at the 
charming Madame Charles's. Write by re- 
turn, and I will set off that day." 

Roger wrote and accepted his friend's 
proposal. He felt that in doing so it was 
no light accidental question of seeing an old 
friend again. They met to gamble and to 
play deep. It might bring Roger all he 
wanted, for he knew Henry Bethune was 
enormously rich, or the scale might turn 
against him and it would be his ruin. 

The guests then in the house were all to 
leave the next day in the afternoon. He 
would have a clear day before him, as 
Bethune could not arrive till Tuesday 
night. 

That evening, when Roger w^as preparing 
for sleep, and Yincenzo was busy attending 



AN OLD FRIEND. 17] 

upon his master, Roger told the man that 
Mr. Henry Bethune was expected the fol- 
lowing day, and that a room must be got 
in readiness. 

" Which room will your eccellenza pre- 
fer for Mr. Bethune ?" said Yincenzo. 

" Oh, it little matters which room you 
give him. They have all lately been in- 
habited; so damp as this old house is, it 
cannot make much difference." 

There was something in Yincenzo's 
countenance which seemed to imply he 
was not altogether of his master's opinion. 
He hesitated a moment, and then said : 

" I think, if it pleases your eccellenza, 
he had better sleep in the white wains- 
coted room." 

" To be sure — to be sure. I don't care." 

" Nice room that," said Yincenzo, as if 
aside to himself; "convenient room — just 
the place for Mr. Bethune. I will see it is 
prepared." 

Roger was too well used to his Italian 
servant's somewhat amusing familiarity to 
take any notice of it in this instance. 



172 TEE BUCKLYN" SHAIG. 

Vincenzo passed for being eccentric as well 
as foreign. It rather amused Roger than 
otherwise, and seemed some relief to him 
from his own taciturn ways. Yincenzo was 
very useful and very devoted. Eoger used 
sometimes jokingly to say he was his dme 
damnee, and that he believed there was 
nothing the man would not do to serve his 
master. 

The next night Bethune arrived, and 
the two friends sat talking over past 
events, and inquiring about mutual friends. 

" The charming Madame Charles had come 
to grief. Her proceedings in her gilded 
salons were too outrageous. Two degenerate 
gamblers had drawn knives, or daggers, or 
pistols, or some such thing at each other. 
There had been bloodshed. The police had 
interfered. Poor Madame Charles had re- 
tired to the provinces after a brief residence 
at Clichy, from whence her devoted ad- 
mirers had redeemed her. But it was not 
thought she was likely to appear in Paris 
again, or at least not for some time. She 
was a great loss, however, to her own circle ; 



AX OLD FRIEND. 173 

she had managed things so cleverly till 
this terrible esclandre took place. Perhaps^ 
added Betliune, " she may change her name 
down in the provinces, and re-appear with 
all the past blotted out, and start afresh." 

" But I thought," said Eoger, " there was 
a Mons. Charles. Was not that respectable 
gentleman who used to ring for more 
champagne, and seemed always to know 
how the play stood with everybody, her 
husband ?" 

" My dear Roger, no ! that was only 
* mon oncle ;' no impediment whatever to 
Madame Charles disposing of her fair hand 
elsewhere. They said there was a tendresse 
between her and the poor fool who was 
murdered in her drawing-room. But I 
dare say this was only a little bit of Parisian 
melodrama got up to heighten the occasion. 
There was a great talk about it at the time. 
I wonder you did not hear of it." 

After more conversation in the same 
strain, fully betraying the tastes and habits 
of the two friends, they parted for the night. 
It was late in the following day before they 



174 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

met again, near noon. Roger took Bethune 
round his place. In the afternoon they 
lazily killed a few pheasants. In the even- 
ing they played. Roger won, and won 
much. 

That night when he came to bed he was 
in excited spirits. Yincenzo cast one search- 
ing glance on his master's face as he entered 
his dressing-room, and seemed satisfied. 
He talked to his master about various small 
household affairs, and inquired what orders 
there were for the gamekeeper the following 
morning. 

** Would his eccellenza go out shooting 
at all?" 

*' Oh yes, Yincenzo ; for though there is 
better game to be had at home, yet a good 
walk in the open air keeps the head cool 
and the hand steady." 

" Eccellenza has had good luck to-night ?" 
asked the man. 

"Not bad, Yincenzo, not bad. Not to 
be compared to that night in Florence, 
when I came home half drunk with wine 
and good fortune, and flung you mille francs 



AX OLD FEIEND. 175 

as I entered the house. By Jove ! I must 
have been drunk indeed. But I would do 
it again, Yincenzo, if I ever had such 
another run of luck as that." 

" Eccellenza is very good," said the oily 
man. "And Mr. Bethune, how are his 
sj)irits, sir?" 

" Oh, he does not mind — not much, at 
least. You know he is rolling in money, 
and by this time he has learnt to take the 
fickle goddess just as she is — now smiling, 
now frowning. His life is spent in nothing 
else." 

" Then Mr. Bethune may sleep sound to- 
night," said Yincenzo, dropping his voice 
as if speaking to himself, "in the white 
wainscoted chamber." 

" Why, Yincenzo ?" said Eoger gaily, 
''you seem to me to have wonderfully 
picked up your English. When you first 
came you could hardly make yourself under- 
stood. Now you can talk as fast as I can. 
I do believe you have been taking lessons 
of that pretty . housemaid I caught you 
philandering with in the backyard the other 



176 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

day. Recollect, you rascal, I will not have 
anything of that sort going on in my model 
house." 

'' Eccellenza need not fear. I have got 
my English by reading. I have found your 
English Bible,* and have been reading that. 
Wonderful stories, to be sure !" (Yincenzo, 
as a Catholic and an Italian, had hitherto 
been more versed in the New than the Old 
Testament.) ''I dare say people learn a 
great deal by reading them, if they can 
only understand them." 

" Well, Vincenzo, and what did you find 
there ?" 

" Oh, eccellenza ! I found a story about 
Jael, ' mother in Israel.' " She brought 
him butter in a lordly dish." Clever woman 
that, — only a chisel would be better than a 
nail. Very clever woman that." 

Roger laughed out. " What is the man 
talking about ? So that is where you get 
your English, is it ? Well, it is a relief to 
know you have gone to no other source. 
I should have thought pretty Nancy would 
* English version. 



AN OLD FRIEND. 177 

have been a more eloquent teacher than a 
" mother in Israel." But you have made a 
wise choice, Yincenzo. Go on and prosper. 
And now put out the lights, and let me 
sleep." 

Yincenzo did as he was told, and closed 
the door. As he did so a sinister smile 
curled his thin lips as he muttered, " Per 
Bacco che bestia !" (By Bacchus, what a 
fool.) 

The next day the same course of events 
was followed. Sj)ort in the morning, play 
at night, and again Eoger was successful. 
"When the two friends parted there was not 
a shade of displeasure on Bethune's face. 
Calm, serious and passionless, he had watched 
thousands flow away from his possession 
into that of his friend, and he had written 
I U's without a frown on his brow. 
But the next morning he came down with 
a more fixed expression of countenance, 
and when Roger proposed they should take 
their guns, he objected. 

" You must give me my revenge to-day, 
Roger ; and as you know I have to be off 

VOL. I. N 



178 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

before daybreak, I shall not sit up so late as 
you made me do last nigbt. And so if you 
will have the table set, we will begin our 
play earlier to-day. By the by, bave you 
been so good as to give orders about my 
going r 

" Yes ; it is all settled. You say you 
know of a sbip that sails for the coast of 
France to-morrow, and that you bave taken 
a bertb. How did you manage it ? Did 
you see tbe captain, or write to bim ?" 

^' I did neitber. I sent my servant, wbo, 
as I told you, I bad to dismiss for mis- 
conduct tbe very day before I came bere, 
wbicb is tbe reason I bave to trouble your 
factotum Yincenzo, witb a letter and full 
instructions. Tbe skipper will not sail 
until I come, if, tbat is, I arrive at all 
witbin tbe mark. You tell me tbat part of 
tbe Sussex coast where I know the sbip 

sails from, close to S is not more than 

twenty miles from here. Yincenzo is to 
drive me there, and see me on board- Was 
not that what you were so good as to say?" 

" Oh, yes ! it is all settled ; and as you 



AN OLD FRIEND. 179 

go at sucli an unearthly hour, I have 
desired Yincenzo to see to getting the trap 
ready himself, and not call up the stable 
men. What hour will you be called ?" 

" Punctually at four, and I shall be off at 
half-past. And now, Eoger, let us settle 
a few of the scores between you and me. 
It is too bad your having all the luck on 
your side." 

The two friends sat down to their game 
at an earlier hour that day, and each played 
as if for the dear life. At first Eoger's 
luck continued, but, after a while, whether 
he got over-flushed with success, or whether 
it was only the turn of chance, the cards 
were against him. Silent and unbroken 
the fatal game went on. Yincenzo alone 
was allowed to enter the room. He crept 
in and out noiselessly to see if anything 
were wanted, and each time he did so, he 
stole a glance at his master's face. What 
he saw there was explanation sufficient as 
to how matters were going. 

It had been arranged that they should 
dine at an hour earlier than usual that 



180 THE BUCKLYX SHAia. 

evening. And a good two hours before 
the time, Eoger, with troubled brow, de- 
clared he would play no longer then. 

He was pacing with hurried strides be- 
neath the great north wall of the castle, 
when Yincenzo, who had seen him from 
one of the windows of his master's room, 
came to tell him that it was later than he 
thought, and not far from the dinner hour. 
Eoger returned to the house and entered his 
own room. To his surprise, Yincenzo, who 
had gone up the backstairs, came in at the 
same moment, and shutting the door behind 
him, stood silently looking at his master. 

" What is the matter^ Yincenzo ? What 
do you want ?" 

" Eccellenza," replied Yincenzo. 

" Well, what is it ?" 

" Something must be done, Eccellenza, 
Mr. Bethune must not ruin my signer. 
This ought to be stopped." 

" How can I stop it, you fool ? I tell 
you I am ruined. We shall have to leave 
England as soon as this rascal is out of the 
house, unless I get back my luck this very 



AX OLD FRIEND. 181 

night, and filch him of all he has robbed 
me of." 

" And your excellence," said the servant, 
in his eagerness translating literally his 
Italian term of respect, " will let Mr. 
Bethmie leave this house with all those 
little bits of paper safe in his waistcoat- 
pocket ?" 

** Why, what can I do ? I cannot rob 
the man, still less can I murder him." 

" Of course not, your excellence ; your 
high-born hands must not smell of blood. 
Not that there need be much blood either. 
That Jael was a clever woman." 

Roger started to his feet, white as ashes, 
the perspiration standing in beads upon his 
forehead and upper lip. 

" What do you mean, man ? Speak 
out." 

" Yincenzo slipped quickly to his master's 
side, and whispered in his ear: 

" He sleeps in the white - wainscoted 
room." 

" Are you mad, Yincenzo ?" roared out 
Roger. " What has the man's sleeping 



182 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

in that room to do witli my losing my 
money ?" 

" Pazienza, signor, pazienza ! and listen to 
your faithful servant. Do you forget there 
is a closet in that white wainscot, so well 
disguised that I doubt if any one in the 
house knows of it, but yourself and I ; and 
I have the key." 

Eoger paused and reflected awhile. He 
remembered, in fact, that the room was 
wainscoted in carved panelling cut off at 
each corner of the room from wall to wall. 
It was not easy to know whether the 
masonry behind was in like manner 
squared at the corners and so lay flat with 
the wainscot. Probably this was not quite 
the case with any of them, for the wood 
gave a hollow sound if you rapped it. But 
a quick ear would have detected that one 
sounded more hollow than the others, and 
close observation would have discovered 
that there the panelling was not quite so 
closely and neatly joined. Moreover, in 
one of the folds of the carving, so aptly 
called the linen pattern because it re- 



AN OLD FRIEND. 183 

sembles drapery, there was a small circular 
hole, which might possibly be the keyhole 
of some peculiarly-shaped lock. 

Roger saw it all now. There was a 
closet in that angle of the room. Some one 
might be concealed there while Bethune 
slept. And then ! 

It was some moments before Roger could 
speak. He looked as if he were about to 
faint. Yincenzo, calm and noiseless as a 
cat, walked up to his master's dressing- 
table, and pouring from a silver-mounted 
flask on the table some powerful liquor, filled 
up a large wineglass. Roger snatched the 
glass_, drained it, and catching his breath 
twice before he could speak, said in a hoarse 
whisper — 

" But, have you thought of all, Yin- 
cenzo — the body — how shall we hide it ? 
Good God ! what am I talking about ?" 

" Be calm, sir, and leave it all to me. I 
have thought of all. Remember, you may 
get back your luck to-night. When you 
see which way the game is going, and are 
about to separate for the night, you will 



184 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

ring the bell for supper. If, when I bring 
in the tray, I see you have accidentally 
dropped your handkerchief close to the bell- 
pull, as you get up to ring, I shall know 
that Mr. Bethune's pocket is stuffed with 
those bits of paper that he must be made to 
give up. You will delay him long enough 
over the supper to give me time to conceal 
myself in the closet. Your excellence will 
wait here and leave all to me. When it is 
over, I will bring you Mr. Bethune's pocket^ 
book. He will not want it again." And 
as he said those words, a horrid smile 
crossed Yincenzo's dark sallow face. 

Eoger listened with an expression of un^ 
utterable horror and agony, and then, in a 
tone of almost irritation, hoarsely whis- 
pered — 

'^ But the body, Yincenzo ; you forget 
the body ! We shall be discovered through 
that." 

'' Tut, tut ! Yincenzo has thought of all. 
Does your eccellenza remember long ago 
my once asking you, whether it were true 
that this part of the house is newer than 



AX OLD FRIEND. 185 

the rest of the castle, and that in your 
study down-stairs, where lately you have 
always dined with Mr. Bethune, there is 
under the flooring the mouth of an old 
well?" 

" Yes, it is quite true. I remember see- 
ing it myself some six years ago, when 
finding the dry-rot was in the boarding, 
I had a new floor put down." 

^* We must take up the floor wherever 
you tell me the well is, and now you see 
how we can dispose of the hodyT 

" The taking up of a few of the boards 
will not require much time ; but there are 
the joists, how will you get through them, 
so as to step in yourself and lift a cumbrous 
weight down to the mouth of the well ?" 

. " Your excellence has ordered dinner 
earlier, and it was to get to speak with you 
in private that I pretended it was later 
than it is. You must dine to-night in 
the room in which you and Mr. Bethune 
play, and though it is not likely he would 
think much about that, yet, lest it should 
lead to remarks after, I will light a fire now 



186 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

in your study, and leaving tlie bag of straw 
in the chimney,* fill the room with smoke. 
You can allege the smoke as reason for not 
dining there. The servants will smell the 
smoke, and so believe you. You, mean- 
while, will say you have locked both the 
outer cloth doors, so that no one may go 
accidentally into the room, and let the 
smoke over the house. I have got all my 
tools ready, and shall shut myself in there, 
for of course it is I and not you who really 
lock the doors. I begin my work as soon 
as you and Mr. Bethune are at dinner ; the 
double doors will keep out the noise of my 
sawing through the joists and wrenching 
up the boards quite as well as they will 
the smoke. But first of all^ eccellenza^ 
you must please to go down with me, and 
show me exactly where the well is." 

When Yincenzo had ceased speaking, 
Roger sat as if almost stupefied. He 
seemed, indeed, to have heard all, but hardly 

* There were no register grates in those days, and 
the old fashion prevailed of stopping up the chimney 
as described above. 



AX OLD FRIEXD. 187 

to be able to grasp the tlionglit of cold- 
blooded murder, that had been so clearly 
and calmly laid before hhn. Suddenly his 
brow contracted, and, starting from the 
chair into which he had sunk, he staggered 
to the door. 

Yincenzo followed, and in another mo- 
ment they were both in Eoger's study. 
Not far from the wall, opposite the window, 
and which, like the other walls of the room, 
was covered with well-filled book-shelves, 
there stood a very massive writing-desk. It 
had drawers on either side at the front, and 
a space behind for large folios, such as maps 
or engravings. 

'' There, Yincenzo ; the well is just be- 
neath that desk. We shall find it not easy 
to move." 

In a moment, Yincenzo had taken out 
the heavy books behind, which added 
greatly to its weight, and disposing of them 
without leaving any trace of disorder, 
moved the desk, and lifted up the thick 
turkey carpet which covered the floor. 
Roger remembered the exact spot, because 



188 THE BUCKLYX SHAia. 

at the time he had already alluded to, he 
had cut with a penknife a small cross in 
the floor above the centre of the well. He 
had done this with no definite purpose, but 
simply as a reminder of where the old well 
had been, and had never from that day till 
now recollected it. The sight of that 
scratch seemed suddenly to bring before 
him some scene of the past. He remem- 
bered that Angela had come into the room 
at the time, and that she held Teresa by 
the hand. Teresa had asked what Eoger 
was doing, and in jest he had replied, 
" making a black hole to put Teresa in 
when she is naughty." He remembered 
kissing the child at the same moment, 
to prevent the threat being an alarming 
one. Angela had laughed and told him he 
should not say such things, even in jest, to 
a child. 

It all came before him, like a forgotten 
dream. Roger had always been ambitious, 
fond of money and irreligious ; but now^ he 
was worse than this — a murderer in inten- 
tion, and soon to be one in deed. 



AN OLD FRIEND. 189 

A mist of tears^ the last honest ones he 
will shed for a long time^ came over his 
eyes. But at that moment the dressing 
bell rang out, and Yincenzo reminded him 
that no time must be lost. 

After a few more recommendations, Yin- 
cenzo lighted a match, and set fire to the 
fuel already laid in the stove. In a mo- 
ment, the smoke was pouring out. Roger 
locked the outer doors, one from inside, the 
other outside, and gave Yincenzo the key. 
Enough smoke had escaped for them to be 
corroborated in their statement : and hav- 
ing so far proceeded in their horrid scheme, 
Roger returned to his room to prepare for 
dinner, talking the while in whispers with 
the subtle Italian. 

When Bethune came down to dinner he 
naturally went straight to the study door. 
Roger came out upon the landing before 
his room at the same moment ; and hearing 
Bethune making for the study, called out 
to him : 

"Not that room, Henry. Thinking it 
was a little chilly this evening, I ordered 



190 THE BUCKLYIs" SHAIG. 

them to light the fire, and it smokes so 
confoundedly, I have been obliged to lock 
it up, and desire dinner to be laid where we 
were playing this morning, in the circular 
room. 

At the same instant Yincenzo was ap- 
proaching the other door of the study from 
the side near the servants' offices. He 
appeared to be carrying down a basket of 
old newspapers, which his master was in 
the habit of having filed. At the bottom 
of that basket lay his carpenter's tools, 
concealed by the papers. So that while 
Bethune was trying one door Yincenzo 
was entering the other, carrying the in- 
struments for preparing the wretched man's 
grave, while the blood was yet coursing 
lightly in his veins, and he thinking only 
of life and success. 



191 



CHAPTER IX. 

WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 

During the whole of dinner Bethune talked 
on in high spirits. His manner to Eoger 
Clififord was easy and intimate, and some- 
how brought vaguely back to Roger's mind 
the recollection of their early days, when 
the two young men had really been at- 
tached to each other before the world and 
their love of play had darkened their 
hearts. Henry Bethune had been very 
handsome in early youth, and was so still, 
in spite of the rather flashy appearance 
which had increased of late years. Roger 
looked at him as he sat after dinner with 
his elbow on the table^ and his white hand 
glittering with rings Hghtly passed through 



192 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

his brown hair. There were the same clear 
grey eyes, that would seem almost to emit 
sparks of fire when their owner was ex- 
cited, but that were deep and tender as a 
woman's when no strong passions stirred 
his soul. And there was (and it was this 
which specially struck Eoger at that mo- 
ment), the alabaster white of the brow 
and temple, just where generally the brown 
hair fell over them, but which was now 
pushed aside by his hand. Roger's eyes 
fixed upon the white spot. Bethune looked 
so young ! there was the delicate grain of 
white china in that temple. And as he 
looked, the words came to his mind, " but 
a chisel would be better than a nail." He 
fell back in his chair and gasped, and his 
hand shook as he poured himself out an- 
other glass of Madeira. The grey eyes 
darkened for a moment as the thought 
crossed Bethune, " this man is unnerved, 
and is drinking too much to keep a steady 
hand at cards to night." He got up from 
the table, and flinging down the napkin 
exclaimed. 



5 

f 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 193 

** Come, Eoger ; you are getting low 
and nervous. Take your revenge of me 
like a man, and if fortune does not smile 
on you this time, follow me to Paris, and 
you shall have it out of me there. Fair 
play is fair play, you know, my lad ; but I 
do not want to ruin you." 

Was it all fair play Bethune meant to 
try that night ? Eoger flushed up to the 
brow at his friend's words, and rang for 
the table to be cleared. In another hour 
the expression of both men was changed 
and fixed. Roger's dark eyes were haggard 
and sunk, Henry's grey eyes were cold, 
keen, and hard as steel. Roger was losing. 
Presently he rose from the gaming-table to 
write another of those fatal papers which 
were transferring Roger's and Robert's and 
Teresa's fortune into the hands of Henry 
Bethune. 

As Roger rose to ring the bell, Bethune 
asked, '' At what hour, Roger, does your 
post go out ?" 

" Not till half-past nine. The boy rides 
over with the bag to Blackdean, and sleeps 

VOL. I. O 



194 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

there that night, returning the following 
morning with the letters." 

"I must write a letter to Paris," said 
Bethune ; " do not let the bag go till I have 
done so." 

" Bring coffee," said Eoger, aloud, '' and 
do not let the boy go with the bag till Mr. 
Bethune's letter is ready. You must come 
in again, when I ring, to fetch the letter." 

While Bethune was still writing, the 
coffee came in, and Yincenzo put it down 
on the table opposite to Boger. Bethune 
sat at another table with his back to 
Roger. Presently he sprang up, just as 
Roger, who had asked him if he would 
take coffee, and been replied to in the 
afSrmative was putting in the sugar and 
cream. Bethune's brow darkened. Roger 
was very pale, and his hand shook. Be- 
thune mistook his action ; he took the cup 
of coffee, and returned to the table where 
he had left his letter. He continued writ- 
ing, folded the letter, sealed it with his 
signet-ring, and meanwhile said to Roger : 

" Who locks your letter-bag ?" 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 195 

*^ Either I or Yincenzo. Why do you 

ask r 

" Because I am very particular about my 
letters. This one is of importance. If you 
do not mind, I should like to see it safe 
in the bag myself, and the bag locked by 
yon in my presence. I suppose you have 
not two keys, have you, and that Yincenzo 
carries the other ?" 

** Here is the only key of my letter-bag, 
Henry," said Eoger, showing one that 
hung to his watch-chain, " I keep it my- 
self, though I sometimes give it to Yin- 
cenzo to use. What are you afraid of?" 

He then pulled the bell violently. Yin- 
cenzo appeared so quickly that he could not 
have been far from the door. 

" Send the boy here with the letter-bag,'' 
said Eoger, in an irritable tone, and Yin- 
cenzo disappeared. 

Presently the boy came in, much asto- 
nished at being sent for. Roger took the 
key, and holding open the bag for Bethunc, 
the latter slipped in his letter. The bag 
was locked, and the boy went off with it. 



196 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

" How particular you are," said Eoger, 
with a sneer. 

" My good fellow, there's no harm in 
being cautious about one's letters. None 
of my friends know where I am, and it is 
just as well they should, in case I don't get 
safe across that cursed channel." 

" There is not a breath of wind, any- 
how," said Eoger, with some hesitation, for 
he did not half like Bethune's remark. 
" Have you told them the name of the 
ship you sail in, and the port she sails 
for ?" 

'' By heavens ! No. 1 forgot that. 
However, it is as well as it is. I doubt 
her being a very respectable craft. Indeed 
I happen to know she is not so. And there 
would be no use in my name getting per- 
haps mixed up with some smuggling tran- 
sactions on a large scale." 

It was a relief to Roger to know Bethune 
had not given this clue to his movements ; 
and if he could have recalled the bag and 
stopped that letter, he would have done so. 
But it was too late. 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 197 

Roger noticed that Bethune did not 
drink his cup of coffee, and remarked it to 
him. 

" No," he replied, '' I am afraid of it's 
keeping me awake, and as I have a long, cold, 
morning's drive before me, I am anxious to 
get an hour or so of sleep. Now, Roger, 
one more try. It is impossible that I 
should break off now ; you must get back 
some of what you have lost. The chances 
are all in your favour. Another throw, 
man !" 

Roger sat down doggedly, and the play 
was resumed ; but Roger was far too ner- 
vous to be a match for his cool and wily 
adversary. 

" I tell you what it is, Bethune," he said, 
starting to his feet, with an oath, " I will 
stand no more of this ; I am a ruined man 
already, and, by Jove ! there is not another 
squeeze to be got out of me." 

Bethune felt that one word on his side 
would lead to a regular quarrel. Roger 
was livid, and shook from head to foot. 
Bethune coolly got up and said, 



198 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

"' As you will, my good fellow. You 
know where to find me in Paris, whenever 
you feel inclined to set yourself right again 
by another try at your luck." 

He quietly gathered up the papers that 
the wretched man had signed, and clasped 
them in his pocket-book, which he then 
transferred to his waistcoat-pocket. Eoger 
watched him, and drawing out his hand- 
kerchief, passed it across his brow : he got 
up to ring the bell, and in doing so, 
dropped h'fs handkerchief close to the bell- 
pull. 

Yincenzo appeared. His eyes glanced 
at the handkerchief on the floor, he stooped 
forward to pick it up, and laid it on the 
table near his master. Their eyes met. 
Yincenzo pushed the handkerchief towards 
him in such a way as to make him feel, as 
his hand lay close to it on the table, that 
he had slipped a key within its folds. It was 
the key of Eoger' s study-door. All there- 
fore was ready in that direction. Eoger 
turned very pale, but Yincenzo saw that 
his purpose was the same, and left the 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 109 

room to fetch supper. When he returned 
with the tray Eoger began pouring out 
some brandy and water, and urged Bethune 
to have some also. 

"Thank you, my good fellow," said 
Bethune, rather coldly. " I do not feel 
inclined just now ; but if Yincenzo will be 
so good as to put a couple of fresh eggs in 
my room and a bottle of champagne, I shall 
be glad enough of them, I dare say, before 
I start to-morrow." 

" What a strange breakfast, Henry. No, 
no ; Yincenzo will see you have some hot 
coffee." 

" Nothing but the eggs and champagne, 
Roger. You know I have my fancies about 
food, and this is one of them." 

Roger gave a glance to Yincenzo, as 
much as to say " See it done." Yincenzo 
understood Bethune's motive, if Roger failed 
to divine it, and as it did not in any way 
interfere with his plans, he was willing 
enough to supply the champagne and 



About a quarter of an hour from this 



200 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

time, tlie two friends had shaken hands in 
apparent good feeling, and with promises 
of soon meeting again. Bethune repaired 
to his bedroom, and the wretched Roger 
sought his study door. The whole house- 
hold had retired to rest long ago, but, 
nevertheless, the sound of the key turning 
in the lock made Eoger start. He held a 
candle in his hand, but as he opened the 
door a blast of cold air caught the flame 
and blew it out. Happily the fire was still 
ahght, and the smoke dispersed, being now 
allowed to follow its natural course up the 
chimney, and by the flickering flame Roger 
beheld, yawning at his feet, a great black 
hole, from which had sprung the blast of 
wind. The carpet was turned up, and the 
boards and pieces of the joists, and the 
tools, lay piled up on the side of the hole. 
Down below, all was dark. Roger relighted 
his candle, and then found that Yincenzo 
had put his arm-chair close to the fire, and 
a small table by the side, with two wax, 
candles and a tray on which stood bottles 
of wine and brandy. He was to sit at 



WHAT TEEY DID WITH HIM. 201 

his ease in luxury and warmth while 
his friend was being murdered above. 
Horrible thought ! and, oh ! horrible, dia- 
bolical wickedness of the cold-blooded, 
clever wretch who had so elaborately and 
so accurately planned it. 

The clock struck one. The pendulum 
ticked loud. The gas in the coals seemed 
to roar. A piece of wax curled off and 
dropped from the candle. Every sound 
was agony. Roger sat, with his elbows on 
his knees and his chin leaning on his hands, 
and listened — listened. 

When Henry Bethune reached his room, 
he found the two eggs and bottle of cham- 
pagne ready for him. Having lighted the 
candles and taken a knife from his dressing- 
case, he examined the cork of the narrow, 
long-necked flask before him. 

" Yes," he said, aloud to himself, " that 
cork has been pressed in by strong ma- 
chinery ; it has not been tampered with 
since, so I may safely cut the wire and 
drink it. And those eggs are as the good 



202 THE BCCKLYN SHAIG. 

fowl laid them. She may have put a little 
chalk in, but no arsenic. It is a comfort 
there is some food prepared by nature 
which even one's dearest friends cannot 
turn into poison. I mistrust me I should 
not feel as well as I do had I drank Roger's 
coffee down-stairs." 

He broke and swallowed the yolk of the 
two eggs, and drank off a tumbler of cham- 
pagne, and he carefully locked the door 
and examined the windows. The height 
from the ground was considerable, but the 
shutters had not been shut. He closed 
them, and drew the iron bars across. He 
proceeded to load a brace of pocket-pistols, 
and put them on half-cock. He laid them 
on a chair by the side of the sofa, and then 
threw on his large travelling-cloak ; he 
packed up his valise and dressing-case, 
felt that the precious pocket-book was 
safe in the inner pocket of his waistcoat, 
changed his dress-coat and boots, and laid a 
large neckerchief ready to tie on when 
called in the morning. He wound up his 
watch, calculated that he had rather more 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 203 

than two hours to sleep, tossed off the 
remainder of the champagne, blew out the 
light, and then, without a prayer or a 
thought, the wretched man flung himself 
on the sofa and was soon in deep sleep. 

Little did he suspect that through one 
tiny hole, no bigger than a pea, every move- 
ment, so far as the range of vision through 
that small aperture permitted, was watched 
by the eye of his intended murderer. He 
had locked and barred himself in with the 
man who was waiting for his life, and now 
he slept in utter security. 

A gleam of bright moonlight found its 
way through the shutters and fell across 
the figure and the crown of the head of the 
sleeping man. And there was the alabaster 
temple, that had arrested the gaze of Roger, 
again uncovered by the treacherous brown 
locks that fell aside from it. 

The white panel of the wainscot opened, 
and with unshod feet the noiseless Yincenzo 
stepped into the moonbeams. He held in 
his hand a hammer and a chisel. The 
latter was unusually fine and sharp. " A 



204 THE BUGKLYN SHAIO. 

chisel would be better than a nail," had 
been his running commentary on the his- 
tory of Jael and Sisera. The hammer 
seemed out of proportion large as compared 
with the thin, delicate chisel ; but it was 
not so for Yincenzo's purpose. 

He crept up to the side of the sleeping 
man. No more light was needed than that 
which the cold unconscious moon bestowed. 
He raised the hammer suddenly, and with 
enormous force brought it down on the 
fore part of the sleeper's head, full amid the 
clustering brown hair. There was a groan, 
no more ; but Yincenzo knew that his 
victim, though stunned, was not dead. 
There was a slight indenture in the centre 
of that white temple. A blue vein marked 
it like the brow of an innocent child. He 
held the chisel against the fair skin, just a 
little aslant, and avoiding the exact spot of 
the blue vein (for had he not said there 
need not be much blood?), he drove the 
fatal edge just into that part of the skull 
where the join is marked by a jagged line, 
and in infancy is not yet closed. It was a 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 205 

skilful hand tliat drove in the fatal wedge. 
There was not another groan. A few drops 
of blood crept down the ghastly cheek, but 
hardly tinged the travelling-cloak, which 
Bethune had flung over the pillow and 
gathered round his recumbent form. 

Yincenzo stood and watched. His breath 
came hissing with excitement. For a mo- 
ment it deceived him ; he did not know it 
was only his own ; but collecting himself 
still more, he thrust his hand into the 
wretched man's bosom. It was warm, nay, 
hot with life ; but there was no pulse. He 
dragged forth the gold-clasped pocket-book, 
and then he lighted a candle, took a look- 
ing-glass, held it to his victim's face, to be 
sure the surface remained unclouded, felt 
his pulse, was sure, beyond all question 
sure, and, blowing out the candle, groped 
his way to the door. He unlocked it, 
and locked it again from the outside. He 
had first carefully locked the fatal closet 
in the wainscot, and now, with shoeless 
feet, he crept to the door of his master's 
study. 



206 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Roger started up, and the two men, the 
murderer in will and the murderer in deed, 
stood face to face. But neither spoke. 
Yincenzo held out the gold-clasped pocket- 
book — the hand that held it was bloody. 
Roger recoiled, and Yincenzo, quietly plac- 
ing it on the table, gave a slight bow, and 
said : 

" E fatto, eccellenza " (It is done, your 
excellence). 

Roger seized the book, now that, like a 
child, he was no longer scared by the sight 
of blood. He tore out the fatal leaves that 
had signed his ruin, and flung them into 
the greedy flames. Then both men drank 
the wine before them ere either seemed 
ready to speak or act. 

" And now, Yincenzo, my friend," stam- 
mered at last the wretched Roger, ^' the 
corpse. We must dispose of it quickly. 
You will have to be off soon. Drive for 
your life to the spot on the coast that — that 
he told you of, and explain to the captain 
that his passenger has relinquished his 
intention of crossing, and has gone back to 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 207 

London ; but not wishing to disappoint 
them, as they had promised to wait for 
him, he sends them the fare agreed upon." 

*' And something over, eccellenza, to 
make more sure of their not grumbling, 
you know," added Yincenzo. 

" Yes, and something over. We must 
get rid of all the — his effects — ^that in the 
morning nothing may appear beyond the 
fiict that he is gone, as he intended^ and 
that you are gone with him, as arranged, 
and are to return as soon as the mare is 
sufficiently rested, and that the ship has 
sailed ; and now let us go up-stairs and 
bring — this thing down " 

The servants all slept at quite another 
part of the castle, down a long passage, cut 
off from this end of the building by a door. 
Yincenzo, to make doubly sure of no sleep- 
walker accidentally coming that way, had 
taken the additional precaution of locking 
that door. He had always been in the 
habit of sleeping in a room adjoining his 
master's, and therefore it might be said, 
that, with the exception of the room where 



208 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

lay the murdered man, they had the whole 
house to themselves. 

Yincenzo lighted a candle and led the 
way. He unlocked the door, and the two 
stepped in. Roger gave one look, and 
turned away sick. 

" Cover up the head, Yincenzo ; it is too 
horrible !" 

And yet it was not horrible — awful, but 
not horrible. The marble features had in 
death resumed the beauty they had lost 
under the impressions of a bad and dissolute 
life. The lids were closed over those once 
deep-grey eyes, and the long lashes, so 
much darker than the brown hair, lay on 
the colourless cheek. The clustering curls 
were slightly disordered, and one red, 
narrow line, streaked down the side of the 
face, alone betrayed it was death, and not 
sleep. 

" It were better first to remove his 
luggage, and leave the body to the last 
thing," said Yincenzo. " If you will carry 
these into your study," pointing to the 
valise and dressing-case, " I will wrap up 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 209 

the corpse that your excellency does not 
like to look at, and then, between us, we 
can get that down afterwards." 

Eoger took up the candle, and passively 
obeyed the order of the fiend who com- 
manded him ; Yincenzo, meanwhile, drew 
the cloak round the corpse, congratulating 
himself all the time that, owing to the 
wretched man's having entirely covered the 
pillow with it, not one drop of blood had 
fallen on any part of the furniture. 

" How lucky," said he to himself, '* that 
he did not get into bed, and lie in the white 
sheets !" 

It was hardly done before Roger returned. 
Yincenzo pointed to the feet of the dark, 
inanimate form that lay between them, for 
Roger to take up, and himself lifted the 
shoulders. He had confined the cloak 
round the body with the wretched man's 
own shirt-pin, so that the arms should not 
hang down. They could not carry a light, 
but Yincenzo remarked that the moon gave 
enough for all they wanted. Safely, though 
slowly, they arrived at the head of the 

VOL. I. P 



210 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

great staircase, but by some accident, be- 
fore they had gone down two steps, the pin 
got loose, one hand fell out, and, as they 
descended, it went flap, flap with a dead 
thud upon the uncarpeted oak stairs. They 
tried to hitch up the corpse to prevent this 
annoyance, but the fact of their descending 
position rendered this impossible. 

'' Yincenzo, if you don't catch up that 
cursed hand, I shall" (growled Eoger, 
with a deep oath) '' be obliged to drop the 
whole thing." 

" Pazienza, eccellenza," said the impassible 
valet, " and don't swear. We have got the 
devil quite near enough to us already with- 
out bringing him any closer." 

Yincenzo rested the head and shoulders 
of the dead body against his knees, and 
managing to confine the limp and drooping 
limb, they continued their course. 

Ah, Eoger Clifford ! wretched man, pass- 
ing now with your hateful burden beneath 
the large stained-glass window of the great 
oak staircase. Blazoned in crimson and 
azure are the arms of your great ancestors. 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 211 

and in the centre are grouped the patron 
saints of your noble family, while in the 
midst shines the image of Him who died 
upon the cross ; murdered and forgiving 
His murderers. Unheeding the faint stains 
of colour that the moonbeams threw upon 
them, on they pass ; and as they pass the 
Image of the white Christ, and the red, five 
sacred wounds, falls on each of the three, 
one after the other. Unheeded token ! 

They entered the study, and there the 
glare of the candles for a moment almost 
blinded them. 

" Take it at once to the mouth of the 
well, Yincenzo. Let me have done with 
it," whispered Eoger. 

Yincenzo did so, but said : 

" Eccellenza had better search his pockets 
first. They may contain something of im- 
portance." 

'* Do it," said Eoger. 

A bitter smile crossed Yincenzo's face, 
but he obeyed without a word. There 
was nothing of consequence in the pockets 
except the name of the vessel in which 



212 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Bethune was to have sailed, and of her 
captain. 

" Keep that yourself," said Eoger. ** It 
will serve you as credentials to prove you 
come from him." 

Yincenzo leaped down through the hole 
he had cut in the floor, and stooped down 
in a half-sitting posture at the brink of the 
well, from the round opening of which he 
had previously raised an iron plate with a 
ring in the centre, which had covered the 
mouth of the well. 

"Now, sir, push the body down, the 
head first ; I will guide it, and it will soon 
be over." 

Eoger did so, and the dark object in 
another minute disappeared. They listened : 
four times — six times — it struck against the 
side of the well, and then there was a faint 
splash, and all was silent. Quickly Yincenzo 
sjDrang back into the room. The clock 
struck half-past three. 

" Now^ sir, examine quickly his luggage, 
that you may see what it will be safe to 
send after him." 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 213 

'* First," said Eoger, " there is this pocket- 
book. It is not safe to keep it, for his name 
is engraved in full on the gold clasp." 

"Fling it in then." 

They quickly looked over the rest of his 
things. Yincenzo was sure he could safely 
dispose of most of them. 

He had ways and means, he said, of getting 
rid of them. The pistols he would be glad 
of for his own journey. 

The rest was thrown into the well, and 
then, gradually, Yincenzo began pushing 
the iron lid into the socket in the masonry 
at the brim of the well. It slipped in with 
a heavy, loud bang, which seemed repeated 
and re-echoed from the depths below. A 
second time Yincenzo came up out of the 
hole, and then looking round on the boards 
that had been wrenched and sawn asunder, 
he said to Eoger : 

" There is ,now no time to lose, I ought 
to be off, or soon the stablemen will be 
stirring." 

" Yes," said Roger ; " you go and harness 
the mare. I will do the best I can with the 



214 THE BUCKLTN SHAIG. 

carpentering work, and cover it all up. 
And at some future period, when you and 
I are alone together, we must see to mak- 
ing it all safe." 

Vincenzo went to the stables, and pre- 
sently Roger Clifford heard the sound of 
the carriage driven to the front door. He 
ran out and held the mare, while Yincenzo 
re-entered the study to fetch what he was 
to take of the dead man's luggage. He 
flung it into the trap. The wretched 
Eoger caught his servant's hand : 

" Yincenzo, I can never forget this. You 
have saved me !" 

" Say nothing about it, eccellenza ; keep 
yourself well and calm, I shall be back 
soon." 

Another moment and Roger was listen- 
ing to the fast-retreating steps of the horse, 
and closing the front door, he returned to 
his study alone. 

Alone with his crime and his remorse; 
alone with that still gaping hole that bore 
witness of that night's dark deed ! With rapid 
and trembling hands, the wretched man nailed 



WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 215 

down the boards sufficiently for present 
safety ; he drew back the carpet, replaced 
the desk, and put back the large folios that 
had made it so heavy. For safety's sake, 
and to render its being accidentally moved 
from the spot in the floor he was so anxious 
it should cover, more difficult, he piled 
other books upon the shelves. All this 
required time, and the eastern sky was 
streaked with light before he had satisfac- 
torily accomplished his task. He then 
resolved to retire to his room ; and to rest 
if not to sleep — when would he sleep again ? 
— till the household were stirring. He 
reflected, however, that first, it would be 
wise to look into the murdered man's room, 
to make sure that in their haste they had 
left nothing that could excite suspicion. 
He opened the shutters and let in the morn- 
ing light. He shuddered as he approached 
the sofa where his victim had lain. No ! 
there was no blood, nothing but the impres- 
sion on the cushion made by the sleeping 
man's head. He would not shake up the 
cushion. He would leave it just as it was, 



216 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

that Nancy might, when she came in to do 
the room, find all the natural traces of 
Bethune's occupation^ and of his early 
departure. For the same reason he left 
untouched the bottle and the broken egg- 
shells. How ghastly it all looked in that 
pale yellow light ! — that light without 
warmth of a cold September morning — 
how his eyelids ached and smarted ; how 
his wearied muscles wanted rest, and his 
strained nerves longed for sleep ! 

Two things had been forgotten — the 
evening boots, and the handkerchief Be- 
thune was to have put on before leaving. 
He took them both away with him. He 
threw the handkerchief and boots both on 
the fire. It took a long time to consume 
these last, and he began to regret he had 
not hidden them ; for the smoking curling 
leather made a bad smell, and he had to 
open the window to let it out. At length 
these miserable details were disposed of, 
and Eoger crept, cold and miserable, to his 
own room. 

Vincenzo had driven briskly down the 



AVHAT THEY DID WITH HIM. 217 

road. As he neared the lodge gate, the 
gate-keeper, roused from his dreams, said to 
his respected partner at his side : 

" I say, dame, the devil rides to-night. 
I am sm-e I hear Bucklyn Shaig a-coming 
down the road." 

Mrs. Sadler sat up in bed and listened. 

*^ Why you be a silly one, mon. Don't 
ye hear the sound of wheels? That aire 
chap that I don' like to name, he rides a 
hossback and not in a trap. I'm a thinking 
as you will have to get up and open the 
gate for the genlemon." 

" Lor' a mercy on us, Betsy, I hope not. 
I'll just look out a winder and see what's 
a-coming." 

He accompanied the action to the word, 
and peeped behind the thin window- 
curtains. 

*' Sure now, and I be blowed if it baint 
master's own gig, and there's that civil 
spoken Italian valet of his, a holding black 
Susey's head, and a opening the gate his 
self ; thank goodness for that." 

" Oh, I knows now how that be," said 



218 THE BUCKLYN SHAIO. 

Betsy, in reply ; " for when I was up at 
the house, to help in the laundry yesterday, 
they told me as how that genelman as was 
a stopping there, had to be off before day- 
break. They say as he had a letter as said 
as he was wanted very particular, by the 
king of the French, as had sent a ship on 
purpose to fetch him ; that's it." 

" Lor', now to think as I should ha' taken 
a great man as the king of the French wants 
to speak to, for that hobgoblin, Bucklyn 
Shaig. Ha, ha !" 

And thus satisfied, Mr. and Mrs. Sadler 
returned to their innocent slumbers. 



219 



CHAPTER X. 

HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 

The benign influence of her native air, and 
the happiness of being again surrounded by 
her relations and the friends of her girl- 
hood, had had a beneficial effect on Lady 
Clifford's health. A winter in Rome and a 
summer in Albano had renewed in her the 
elasticity and power of enjoyment which 
were so natural to her, but which always 
seemed gradually to forsake her the longer 
she remained in England, and which gave 
place to a deep lassitude whenever she found 
herself under the pressure of any actual 
sorrow. 

There are some impressionable natures 
that do not require strange and unusual 



220 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

griefs to work a lasting effect of sadness ; 
and to leave traces deeper than the event 
seems to justify. We cannot always measure 
grief or joy by the exact nature of the cir- 
cumstances that cause them, for the fountains 
of each lie in ourselves, and rise in propor- 
tion to the depths of our own heart from 
whence they spring. 

The death of Mildred had left a deep shade 
on Angela's memory, and it was all the more 
fixed there from the fact of her having re- 
turned to the scenes where she had spent so 
many happy years with her sister-in-law, im- 
mediately after they had interred her beloved 
remains in the convent church of Bracciano. 
Devotedly attached to Lord Clifford, she 
yet found there was wanting in him that 
keenness of sympathy and power of appre- 
ciation which she required. Affectionate, 
kind, and attentive, there were whole fields 
of thought and feeling in his wife's mind 
which he never had explored, and to which 
he never even guessed the clue. The result 
of this was a great deal of mental solitude 
to the calm, deep soul of the Italian woman. 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 221 

He had the frankness and chivahy of a high- 
born EngKshman, but he lacked the fertihty 
of liis wife's southern imagination, and 
the deep-concealed power of affection that 
education and religion had subdued and 
directed, but that nothing could destroy, 
not even disappointment; and in many ways, 
though none for which Lord Clifford was 
personally to blame, her married life had 
brought disappointment. Upon the death 
of ^her sister-in-law, with whom she had 
shared every thought and feeling, and to 
whom she owed much of that training in 
early married days that had enabled her to 
remain contented and happy in a home that 
always retained somewhat the character 
of exile, and with a husband who was well 
as a companion, but not deep enough for 
a friend ; she clung with the tenacity of 
devotion to the orphan child of her lost 
Mildred. 

Lord Clifford had more than once shown 
a slight jealousy at her affection for her 
little niece; but this was forgotten when, 
about three years after, she had a child of 



222 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

her own. Still, though of course there was 
the mother's instinct for her own offspring, 
yet on the whole, Teresa was more the 
child of her heart than her own little Eose ; 
and that although her dislike of the father 
had (if not habitually, yet from time to time) 
almost equalled her love for the dead 
mother. 

Twice had Eoger inflicted on Angela the 
severest wound it was possible for him to 
give her affections, by removing Teresa from 
her care ; and the second time she had felt 
it more than the first. This was partly be- 
cause Teresa being older, and very advanced 
for her age, had become more of a com- 
panion. Partly also because it had been 
done in spite of her most earnest entreaties ; 
and last, but not least, because she felt she 
had not been seconded in her desire to 
retain the child with her, as much as she 
might have been by her rather careless, 
easy-going husband. It is doubtful whether 
Lord Clifford reasoned upon the fact himself, 
but possibly there still lurked in his mind 
some jealousy of Angela's love for the little 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 223 

orphan, and some displeasure that there was 
any object to share that love with himself 
and Rose. 

In her friendship with the Princess 
Orsini she endeavoured to replace a portion 
of what she had lost. But in this case she 
gave more than she received. The character 
of the Frenchwoman had less reality and 
depth than that of her lost sister-in-law ; 
and less intensity and warmth than her 
own. But still there was so much ready 
sympathy and quickness of response in the 
princess, that Angela sought her society 
more than that of any one : and besides this, 
there was the ever present hope that she 
would one day become a second mother to 
Rose. 

It took some months of Italian life and 
home associations to efface from Angela's 
mind the profound impression occasioned 
in an indefinite way partly by the renewed 
loss of Teresa^ and partly by her own delicate 
health : and the echo of which we have 
traced in her letters to the princess. Her 
spirits, and, as a consequence, her health 



224 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

began to flag again towards the close of the 
year after they had left England. The 
Orsinis had returned to their palace in 
Florence, and Eome from henceforth wore 
a deserted look to Angela. Her husband's 
renewed anxiety, and the advice of the 
physicians, led to the resolution of spending 
the winter at Naples, in the hope that the 
exhilarating air of that lovely city might 
have a rousing effect on Angela's languid 
and desponding state. It was just about 
the time that the terrible events we have 
described in the preceding chapter were 
taking place at Raymond Castle, that this 
change of residence was resolved on, and 
with renewed separation Lady Clifford's 
correspondence with the princess was re- 
sumed. 

" Naples, October 30th. 

''At length, dearest Louise, the horrors 
of our voyage are over. We were roused 
at an early hour this morning from our 
miserable sleeping accommodation on board 
\hQ Zephyr, to catch our first sight of the Bay 



HOME BY THE LATERAL GATE. 225 

of Naples ; and somewhere in some of the 
numerous white houses upon which the 
rising sun was then shining, we were to find 
a home for a few months. Line after line, 
point after point was revealing itself beneath 
the growing light of morning ; every second 
fresh beauty burst upon our view, and the 
warmth and life of day were spreading over 
all. A thin column of white smoke was 
issuing from Mount Vesuvius, that irascible 
old hero among mountains who had formed 
one of the gorgeous dreams of my child- 
hood, a mixture of terror and wonder^ and 
whom now, at last, I saw actually before me. 
My old nurse had been a native of Torre di 
Grecco, and as I sat at her knee she used to 
tell me strange weird stories of Mount 
Vesuvius (which by the peasants was be- 
lieved to be one of the mouths of hell), and 
of the fears of the villagers whenever the 
red flames reached a certain height, and the 
streams of hot lava encroached on a certain 
spot. From the city of Naples itself to the 
very base of the fearful mountain, town 
after town of white dwellings, like strings 

VOL. I. Q 



226 THE EUCKLYN SHAIG. 

of pearls, glittered in the sunshine along 
the level shore and the vast plains, while on 
the left the high grounds, as far as Baiae, 
are equally covered with villages and with 
graceful villas, some of which are almost 
washed by the sea at their base, while 
others seem perched inaccessible on the top 
of terraced and vine-covered cliffs." 



*' November 7th. 
" We have found a home, my beloved 
Louise, a home after my own heart. Would 
you were here to share it with me ! for you 
too would call it a paradise, and would fully 
appreciate the beauty I can find no words to 
describe. My good kind husband has gra- 
tified my inclinations at the sacrifice of his 
own pleasures and convenience, and instead 
of being actually in the town, we have a 
villa on the Strada Nuova. 

"The blue waves lap the walls of my 

terrace garden. We are so close to the sea 

that as I lie in bed I see no land, but seem 

to be in a floating home, gazing on the 

* white cliffs of Sorrento, or the rocky steeps 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 227 

of Ischia. I hear the scream of the wliite 
seagulls swooping past my windows, when 
occasionally the tideless Mediterranean, 
trembling from the depths of its blue 
bosom, hangs out wreaths of white foam 
along its arching waves, and rushes on with 
a voice of thunder over the low rocks and 
up the granite side of the sea-walk, some- 
times flinging a jet of spray so high that it 
startles me with a thrill of pleasurable fear 
while I sit safe in the shelter of my pretty 
villa. Oranges and catalpas, myrtles and 
pomegranates, fill my garden. A bank of 
prickly pears, and huge aloes, with the bend 
of their green leaves like the folds of a 
serpent, shut us out entirely from the road. 
It is a fortification of nature's own making, 
and my snake-like aloes guard me better 
than the dragon of the garden of the 
Hesperides. I defy man or beast to pass 
over that barrier. Even now I have roses 
in bloom, and violets without number. A 
trailing vine drops long disorderly tendrils 
from the veranda, and a group of thorny 
acacia have shed their blossoms, like gold 



228 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

feathers from the canary's wing, on the 
gravel path. 

" Ah, Louise ; a home Hke this, in a land 
like this, almost makes one cling to life 
again. The touch of life thrills me as I lie 
on my sofa in the window in the warm sun- 
heam, and see George enter with a few fresh 
flowers for my morning bouquet, while little 
Rose in her white frock comes skipping in. 
And, by the way, she bravely bears the heat ; 
grandly betraying her half Italian origin, 
in spite of her fair hair and blue eyes. You 
cannot think, dear Louise, how that child is 
worshipped wherever she goes. The Eng- 
lish colouring and cast of her features have 
a strange charm for the people here. The 
lazzaroni have given her her poor mother's 
name, which heaven knows she better de- 
serves, and she is greeted as the angel 
wherever she goes. 

" But, ah, Louise ! how sadly I miss my 
darling Teresa, my faithful little companion. 
It has been a cruel separation. I feel I 
hardly deserved it at Roger's hands, for I 
have ever loved his child : and when he 



HOME BY THE LATER AN GATE. 229 

insisted on it, surely lie must have known 
what it cost me — almost my life. But I 
submit. It is well to diminish some of the 
ties that bind me to a life which in this 
brighter land, and with better health, I 
still feel has perhaps too strong a hold on 
my earthly affections. This life out of 
doors, which we, in common with all 
Naples, are now leading, suits me marvel- 
lously. I enjoy, dear Louise, the degree of 
familiarity it gives me with the habits of 
the lower orders ; and I like to watch them 
basking in the privileges of their glorious 
climate, and requiring no other roof than 
that of the blue sky, with sometimes a cur- 
tain of matting or canvas, to save them 
from the scorching down-pouring sunbeams. 
My poor neighbours are a light-hearted 
race, fond of gambling, and greatly addicted 
to theatres ; but nevertheless working hard 
when they do work. From morning till dark 
I can watch the men sawing and hammering, 
the women stitching or knitting in the street 
in front of their own doors. They gossip 
enormously, for they are always in public. 



230 THE BUCKLYN- SHATG. 

The half-naked infants fall to the care of the 
very old men and women who are past harder 
work, and who, men and women equally, 
mend their own clothes ; while the beggars 
sit together and stitch up each other's rags, 
for it would not be wise to take them off for 
the operation, lest they should fall entirely 
to pieces; neither, seeing how few and 
scant they are, would it be altogether 
decorous. The popular places of meeting 
are generally the steps of some church. 
They are seats by day-time, and beds by 
day and night, for the lazzaroni. I pass 
an assembly of this nature every day when 
I go to the Yilla Eeale. There is a small 
piazza before the church, and I am besieged 
daily by a crowd of bronze-limbed ragged 
urchins, from three to ten years of age, who 
become clamorous for alms the instant they 
see me ; and I own I give it in consideration 
of the impudent laughter of their bright 
eyes, and dazzling teeth, far more than from 
any notion of well-merited charity. Every- 
body begs; even the stately maiden with 
her well-poised pitcher on her head, and 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 231 

with a brow like Juno, and a round naked 
ankle like Diana, does not disdain to extend 
a supplicating palm, and, awed by her ma- 
jestic mien, I dare not refuse. 

" I have paused to rest in my writing, 
and going to the window have seen pass- 
ing the funeral procession of a young child. 
The white pale face is turned towards the 
heaven which the innocent soul has just 
entered ; for the gay and gilded coffin is 
uncovered. And along the sides of the 
car sit his former infant companions dressed 
in white to represent angels, and carrying 
flowers to sprinkle over his early grave. 
All life here is translated into poetry, how 
much more truly than that early death 
which is the sure birthday into life. 

" Such is life in the streets of Naples, 
Louise. A life of many aspects and of 
many sounds ; while the tall palaces, with 
their giant porticoes, look down in melan- 
choly desolation on the scene below. The 
grandeur of many of these great old houses 
has passed away. The lofty halls are 
divided into the pretty tenements of a poor 



232 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

and crowded population, which streams, 
and pours, and hurries through the narrow 
streets ; horses and foot-passengers treading 
the same broad-stoned, slippery pavements, 
while the gutter is nowhere and every- 
where. Fountains splash in the hot sun- 
light over their green and reeking basins 
at the crossing of the streets, or in the open 
piazzas. The ragged urchin clambers up 
to drink, while the dark-haired matron 
washes her garments in the same water 
beside him. Mules and asses, laden with 
hay, and corn, and wood, trail their sweep- 
ing burdens through the unresisting crowd. 
Every avocation of daily life is performed 
in the light of an Italian sky, in the 
thoroughfares of a great city, while from 
the silent crumbling windows of those once 
crowded palaces hang the many-coloured 
raiments of a ragged population. The 
casements from whence the noble ladies of 
olden times looked out on no less crowded 
streets, have become the ostentatious dry- 
ing-grounds of a people to whom ablutions 
are little known. The jabbering sounds of 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 233 

the Neapolitan dialect rise high above all 
other discordances. Words deriving their 
origin from French, Greek, Arabic, and 
Italian, suit well a people whose habits, 
aspect, and even character bear the trace 
of all three." 



" Dearest Louise, 

"In my last letter I gave you the par- 
ticulars of our life at Naples. I must now 
relate to you some of the excursions we 
have made in the neighbourhood. It was 
a beautiful sunny day when we went to 
CaStel-a-Mare. The inn at which we 
stayed was close to the sea, and all night 
long I heard the plaintive, monotonous 
wail by which the fishermen give notice of 
their presence to the other boats in their 
neighbourhood. The moon shone brightly 
on the waters ; the tideless wave rippled 
on the shingles, and nothing broke the long 
silence of the glorious Italian night but 
that rippling sound and that wailing cry. 
We remember most places by what we saw 



234 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

there, or the friends with whom we con- 
versed, but Castle-a-Mare comes before me 
chiefly as associated with those two simple 
sounds. The moonhght and the murmur- 
ing sea, the purple skies studded with stars, 
seemed, as it were, condensed into an un- 
forgotten strain of music, and I wondered 
for how many ages, from father to son, that 
wail had been caught by the fishermen of 
that coast, and how many wanderers like 
me had listened to it through a quiet but 
sleepless night, and then passed on with 
the lingering cadence still sounding through 
long months and years of memory. The 
power of association seems always to reside 
most in the least tangible causes. A strain 
of music will call up a long line of unfor- 
gotten ghosts of the past, and a fleeting per- 
fume will do so even more vividly. These 
interior senses speak to the soul with greater 
power than outward objects, and sink deeper 
into the hidden recesses of our being. 

"From Castel-a-Mare we went on to 
Sorrento. The road along the coast is cer- 
tainly beautiful, but it is a beauty which 



HOME BY THE IvATERAN GATE. 235 

would weary me. There is nothing grand 
and imposing ; there is no awe mingled 
with the admiration it excites. Every- 
thing looks small and crowded, and too 
many objects are forced upon the sight at 
once. Some one remarked it was like 
ballet scenery, or as if nature had spilt all 
the colours of her pallette on Naples and its 
environs. The sea is like a lake, for the 
opposite shore appears, from the clearness 
of the atmosphere, to be within a stone's 
throw. The hills and cliffs are crushed 
together. It is pretty, but not grand. 
Nature has been at play here, and this is 
the painted toy she has made for herself. 
I love better the vast undulating Campagna 
of Rome, with its melting shades and sud- 
den lights. It seems to me as if the attend- 
ant angels of creation had levelled it, and 
drawn its lines, seamed it with the golden 
threads of the Tiber, and set it in snow-capped 
hills, that the Eternal City might spring out 
of its bosom, like a natural growth of those 
wide boundless plains, alone in her serene 
and solemn grandeur. 



236 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

" The windows of our rooms in tlie hotel 
at Sorrento looked upon the sea. I could 
fling a pebble straight down among the 
rocks in the clear water a hundred feet 
below. The view extends to Naples and all 
the coast line. It seemed as if a bird might 
have flown across in a few moments only. 
I used to sit and watch the light upon the 
motionless sea, and trace the slow progress, 
half the day through, of some white lateen 
sail almost becalmed in the still, hot air. 
My bedroom opened out into an orange 
garden, golden suns in a heaven of green, 
for the trees were laden with fruit, and 
sprinkled with their heavily - perfumed 
flowers. 

" I was ill and languid, and the dreamy 
beauty of the place woke in my mind an 
impression as of something I had dimly 
seen before, like a recollection of some 
former state which lay half-forgotten in 
my soul. The impressions of beauty are 
natural to us, but they are dimmed and 
disfigured by the dust of life's toilsome 
journey. Yet sometimes when sickness 



HOME BY THE LATER AN GATE. 237 

lays us aside to sit silent and listen to our 
own hearts, we find them blurred and 
blotted indeed, but not effaced, and then 
solitude and meditation awake and renew 
them all again." 



" Sorrento, December 20th. 
" We are about to leave this lovely place^ 
dear Louise, to return to Naples. While 
the carriage is packings I devote the few 
last moments of my stay to you. I have 
been less well lately, and I begin to think 
that my old malady is creeping on slowly 
but surely, and that no human hand can 
arrest its progress. I am, perhaps, wrong 
in giving you pain by saying this. But I 
feel the need of saying it to some one who 
knows me and cares for me, and I cannot 
even allude to my apprehensions to my dear 
husband. The only effect upon him would 
be to throw him into a perfect agony, which 
would break down my own courage, and 
teach me a bitterness of regret which I 
desire to avoid, that, to the last, if so be 
God's will, I may look death in the face 



238 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

and bid him welcome. And how could I 
do this if I dwelt on George's despair, and 
sweet Eosy's loss ! At the same time I 
should not like them to imagine that my 
silence arose from my having been ignorant 
of my actual danger. Therefore, to you 
alone, dear Louise, I confide my fear and 
my hope. And when I am gone, tell those 
who loved me, that long before the sum- 
mons came, I had been listening for the 
footsteps of heaven's messenger. 

^'Yesterday I took my last and only 
walk at Sorrento. George had driven out 
towards Salerno wdth Eose, leaving me, as 
they thought, quietly tucked up on the sofa 
with a book until their return. They had 
not been gone long before a feeling of rest- 
lessness seized me, and a longing desire to 
be out in the open air, alone and free. I 
was afraid of being stopped, for it is some 
time siuce I have been thought strong 
enough to go out, except driving, or on 
donkey -back. So I slipped out like a guilty 
thing, and only told the porter, as I left the 
house, that if I were inquired for, he was 



HOME BY THE LATERAL GATE. 239 

to say I had goue out a short distance. I 
found myself in a labyrinth of high walls 
running along the mountain's side, and 
interrupting the wide view I was panting 
to behold. At length I came to a little 
wooden bridge which spanned a narrow 
ravine, and led me up a mountain-path to 
a small terrace where stood a deserted 
Capuchin convent. The rusty iron gate 
was locked; a few flowers still grew in the 
neglected garden. The now silent bell 
hung in the Ojoen belfry with no cord 
attached to it. The shutters were closed, 
and the whole place was falling into a ruin. 
" I sat down on the bank opposite, where 
stood the large wooden cross that the sons 
of St. Francis always plant before the 
entrance to their houses. These crosses, 
as you know, have not the image of the 
Crucified, and the cross like the house, 
seemed deserted. The voices of the pea- 
sants, calling to each other in the mountain- 
paths just above me, floated down in the 
quiet soft air. I gathered bright fern- 
leaves from the tangled roots of an old 



240 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

olive-tree, and creeping up a dry narrow 
ditcli between the mountain-side and a 
garden-bank, I plucked the roses that fell 
over. Behind me was the mountain, be- 
fore me the blue sea. Some little peasant 
children^ with pale faces, and eyes like jet, 
came and played near me. There was life 
in the soft air. Life in the ringing laugh 
of the peasants near me — life in the round 
limbs and sweet faces of the little children, 
life in the fresh flowers in my lap ; but the 
silent bell, and the closed, tenantless house, 
filled me with thoughts of death, and I 
prayed that the Great Deliverer, when He 
came, might find me as then, sitting at the 
foot of the cross. 

*"' When I reached home, I found George 
and Rose had returned before me, and were 
both in the greatest anxiety, and both on 
the point of setting off in pursuit. Alas ! 
for so much tenderness, so much love 
lavished on one who is about to leave 
them. And, alas ! for my own weak heart 
that, foreseeing their sorrow, beats again 
with the fond love of life ! And so, Louise, 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 241 

you will hardly wonder when I tell yon, 
that after treasuring my roses and fern- 
leaves, as mementos of that day's walk and 
its thoughts of death, and meaning to bear 
them away with me, I have just now, 
with the waywardness of a sick woman's 
fancies, dropped them down from my window 
into the sea below, among the rocks where 
T had watched the fishermen catching the 
silvery-scaled sardines in the early morn- 
ing. I would not take them with me, 
because they would fade. Neither would I 
have them to be thrown aside by others, 
because my own thoughts when I gathered 
them had made them sacred. Ah ! how 
difficult it is to be ever of ' one mind,' not 
with others alone, but with one's own better 
self. 

*' Farewell, dearest Louise. 

^' Yours affectionately in life and death, 

" Angela Clifford." 

Not many days after writing this letter, 
the last she ever wrote to her beloved 

VOL. I. R 



242 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

friend^ it became apparent that the climate 
of Naples was getting too exciting for 
Lady Clifford's gradually declining strength. 
The feverish attacks that she alludes to in 
her correspondence, proved more serious 
than she or any of her family had appre- 
hended. It was_, in fact, the blazing-up of 
that consuming fire that was burning with 
such unnatural brightness in her large deep 
eyes, and lighting up, from time to time, 
so rich a spot of colour in her usually pallid 
cheeks. 

The approach of spring that brought 
new life to all nature, and to which Lord 
Clifford had been looking forward with 
fond hope, far from renovating her ex- 
hausted health, seemed, to sap her very life, 
and by calling forth^ from time to time, a 
fictitious strength, drained the strength it 
was expected to nourish. 

Her restlessness increased from day to 
day, and her medical man so far acquiesced 
in her desire for change, that he said the 
soft air of Rome would, in a measure, allay 
the feverish irritation which was mastering 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 243 

lier energies, and hastening her end. Her 
own desire to return to Rome, where she 
had spent so much of her girlhood^ in- 
creased daily. The journey was accom- 
phshed slowly, and with difficulty ; and as 
the carriage entered Rome by the Later an 
Gate, and passed within the shadow of that 
grandest of churches — the " Mother and 
Head " of all other churches — Angela 
laid her hand on her husband's arm, and 
turning on him a face full of inspiration, 
murmured : 

" As the shadow of a great rock in a 
weary land, so peacefully and sweetly falls 
the shadow of Rome on my burning heart. 
And within that shadow you will let me 
rest^ dear George, till beneath that shadow 
I die ?" 



From Nancy at the Castle to Mrs. 
Dorothy in Rome. 

" Dear Mrs. Dorothy, 

'' Hoping you are well, I write to say 
we are all in a sad way at hearing nothing 



244 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

of her sweet ladyship, and she so ill, as 
master's last letter told us. That's now 
nigh a month ago, and it do seem strange, 
that there is no post come from Italy, un- 
less it be the letters are lost in the sea. 

" Master do take on now, to be sure. 
But, lor ! for the matter of that, he has not 
been the same man since last Michaelmas- 
tide. He goes mooning about, not a bit 
like his old self, and he has grown ten 
years older in hardly so many weeks. 

" There comes no company to the house 
now. It's quite altered like, and the castle 
seems like one great dungeon. 

" It is not for such a poor servant as me 
to repeat all I hears ; but I don't mind to 
you, dear Mrs. Dorothy, because you have 
always been so kind to me, and you won't 
tell on me again. But it's just as if some- 
thing had gone wrong in the house ; for 
people seems to shun us, like. When 
master had his house full, and larking and 
drinking a going on^ oft-times till daylight, 
folks seemed glad enough to come. But 
now we are grown steady, no one seems to 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 245 

like so mncli as to look at us. Master goes 
hunting very little, and when he do, 
William says he keeps pretty much to his- 
self, and some of his old friends hardly 
speak to him. 

" I can't tell you as I knows what the 
secret of it all is ; and besides, I don't trust 
them foreign posts, where, maybe, they'll be 
opening my letters. In course, I don't 
know nothing at all about it. But people 
do talk so. They say as that gentleman 
that comed here about Michaelmas, afore 
or after, and as I knoived, because I heard 
them, I lying awake at the time, drove 
away with Mr. Yincenzo, at four o'clock in 
the morning, never got back to France- 
There have been people come over to 
inquire about him. I suppose that's what 
ails master. Nothing ails Mr. Yincenzo, 
that's sure. I asked him one day, what 
had become of the gentleman — such a 
gentleman as he was too ! such eyes and 
such hair, not one of your black creatures, 
like that Yincenzo ; but fair and clean-look- 
ing, and a noble way with him — and Mr. 



246 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Yincenzo says to me, as how the gentleman 
must be drowned. 

" Well, but what became of the ship he 
sailed in^ was that lost ? says I. ' How 
should I know?' says he. ' My orders were 
to take him to the coast^ and I took him. I 
know no more than the child unborn, what 
ship he sailed in, and that's all about it.' 

" Well, they do say as murder will out, 
and so I suppose will drowning ; but that 
won't be till the day of judgment, when the 
sea gives up its dead, and I supj)ose by 
that time no one will care what became of 
the gentleman, though he was so noble 
looking. 

" All I know is, it's sad times we are come 
to, and I do wish you were all back again. 
They say when the rats run away from a 
house, it is a sure sign it is going to tumble 
down, or be burnt down. I don't know 
what it may be when the peacocks go. But 
it is as true as can be, that last Michaelmas, 
all those beautiful birds that our Mrs. Clif- 
ford used to be so fond of, and fed with her 
own hands out on the terrace, as I have 



HOME BY THE LaTERAN GATE. 247 

heard the old servants say and as you have 
told me yourself, many a time, have all 
gone away. They must have gone in the 
night, for they were seen in the afternoon 
as usual here, and the next morning if they 
were not found all roosting in the cedars of 
Nutley Hall ! and nothing has ever been 
able to tempt them back again. 

" blaster seemed much put out about it. 
William do say, that he never saw Mr. 
Clifford so vexed about a thing of the kind. 
I suppose it made him think of his dead 
wife. 

" Father Netherby has been away for 
more than six weeks, and is only lately 
come back. He told me last Sunday he 
wanted to see Mr. Clifford ; but you know 
master dont care much for the reverend 
father's company, though he is always very 
civil when they do meet. 

" There is no news to tell you of the 
neighbours, that I knows of, except that 
young Mr. Cecil Redcliffe came of age last 
month, and they had grand doings up at 
the Manor Grange. But master did not go. 



248 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

"Do write when you can, dear Mrs. 
Dorothy, and tell me you are coming home. 
It would be quite another place if you were 
here, and Miss Teresa had left her convent, . 
and were at the head of her father's house, 
as she ought to be. 

" Your affectionate friend, 
" Nancy." 



From the Rev. Father Netherby at 
NuTLEY to Lord Clifford in Rome. 

" Your lordship will appreciate better 
than I can express, the profound grief with 
which I received the intelligence given in 
your last letter, of your sweet lady's declin- 
ing health. The sorrow, which it appears 
but too manifest is about to fall on you, is 
one far beyond the reach of human conso- 
lation ; but it is not, my lord, beyond the 
reach of divine faith and holy hope. The 
distance that separates us is too great for 
me to say more, for I know not in the 
midst of what scenes of anxiety my letter 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 249 

may fall. Your name is ever in my 
prayers, and that of her whom I have 
loved as my own sjDiritual child, while 
I have ever admired in her the model of 
all Christian virtues. 

" May the peace of God descend on you 
both, and on the darling child heaven has 
given you. I am greatly in need at the 
present time of your lordship's advice and 
opinion on a matter nearly relating to the 
welfare of your illustrious family ; and the 
urgency of which makes me tenfold regret 
your inoj^portune absence. 

" Evil-minded and evil-designing persons 
have set on foot some strange stories re- 
specting your lordship's honoured brother, 
Mr. Roger. And the foul calumnies that 
circulate, like the infection of disease in the 
very air around us, are the more difficult to 
put down, from the fact that they are so 
vague and indefinite, that the cunningest 
mind can hardly decipher their purport. 

" Your lordship will perhaps question 
my own wisdom in alluding to such idle 
gossip, when I am not able to give any 



W^ 



250 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

good explanation of my meaning. And, 
indeed, I have mused for many weeks 
on the question before I resolved to come 
before you with such uncertain tidings, 
which might reasonably lead you to doubt 
the saneness of my judgment. But the 
name of Clifford is too dear to me for me 
any longer to hold my peace, and I have 
at length brought myself to the point of 
writing to you on this painful subject. 

'' In brief then, my lord, you must know 
that so foolish and unheard-of a prejudice 
has got abroad respecting Mr. Eoger, that 
many of the noblemen and gentry of the 
neighbourhood endeavour to avoid his pre- 
sence. You will naturally, my lord, in- 
quire what can be the cause of this strange 
state of things, and since I am not able to 
enlighten you on that question, my laying 
the subject before you may almost seem an 
impertinence. But your lordship knows 
too well my sincere attachment to your 
noble and pious family, to believe I am 
influenced by any motives but those of 
zeal for your honour. I might, it is true, 



HOME BY THE LATER AN GATE. 251 

wish that all members of your family were 
more like yourself, and the ways and the 
customs of the castle took more after those 
of the hall. But whatever my feelings on 
that matter may be as a priest, and as a 
friend of the family, I cannot hear the 
tongue of slander let loose upon the name 
of Clifford without indignation and aston- 
ishment. That your brother may allow 
himself an undesirable liberty in the matter 
of card-playing and dice, may be perfectly 
true ; but that the mere fact of a gentle- 
man having come from France and spent a 
few days at the castle, and having, as the 
domestics assure me, left at an early hour 
to return to the coast and from thence 
regain his home in Paris, should by some 
strange mischance not have reached his 
destination — that this fact, I say, in which 
there may be more of the providence of 
God than of the malice of men, should lend 
any colour to injurious aspersions on the 
character of Mr. Roger Clifford, appears to 
me little less than monstrous. 

" And now, my lord, you know the 



252 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

subject matter of my letter, and you will 
understand my object when I say, return, 
my lord, to your own country, to your 
own home, and your family ; that again 
sheltered by your honourable presence, the 
foul birds of slander may be scared away, 
and that our enemies, whom your lordship 
knows to be many and powerful, may cease 
to flout the venerable name of Clifford, and 
the sacred cause to which it has ever been 
allied. 

" Praying that the blessing of God may 
ever descend on you and all belonging to 
your house, 

" I remain, my lord, 
" Your faithful servant in Christ, 

" F. Netherby, S. J." 



Lord Clifford to Mr. Roger Clifford 
AT Raymond Castle. 

^' Yilla Negroni, Rome. 
" My dear Roger, 

" The scene of anxiety and affliction 
from the midst of which I am writing to 



HOME BY THE LATERAN GATE. 253 

yoii, will at once account for my writing 
but seldom, and for my present letter not 
half expressing to you all I might say. 

" I can no longer shut my eyes to the 
fact, so terrible in itself, and so agonizing in 
its life-long consequences, that my beloved 
wife is rapidly sinking under the effects of 
that insidious malady which has already so 
often threatened her precious life, and com- 
pelled me to bring her back to Italy. It 
is not to you, Roger, that I need dwell on 
my own feelings in this case, even were it 
in my power to express them. I ought 
long ago to have known that I was to lose 
my dearest earthly treasure, and that it is 
a marvel of heaven s mercy that I have 
been allowed to detain her so long. But 
even now that I see the pale shadow of 
death hovering over her, and that I know 
his step is on my door, I cannot realise that 
I am to lose her, and less still what I am to 
do without her. 

" I should hardly have summoned cou- 
rage to write to you now, Roger, were it 
not that (without entering into needless 



254 THE BUCKLTN- SHAIG. 

explanations, for you will understand my 
meaning if my words are to tlie point) 
there comes a time in most men's lives 
when they specially need the helping hand 
of a friend, and the support of a loyal affec- 
tion . The best and noblest may be assailed 
by the vilest calumny, and it is just they 
who will feel it the most. The low under- 
wood feels not the blast that breaks the tops 
of the forest trees. Keep a brave heart, 
Eoger^ and scorn the insults of tlie crowd. 
It will not be long, alas ! ere the dear 
ties that keep me here are torn and broken, 
and then I shall drag what is left of my 
blighted life back to my own home. 

" You never can have doubted, Eoger, 
my brotherly affection, and my more than 
brotherly trust in you. The difference in 
our characters has increased rather than 
diminished my affectionate regard. I know 
I am not your equal in acquirements, or in 
natural talents. But fortune has made me 
your elder brother, and so far as that fact 
gives me the power of standing by you 
through thick and thin, and going througli 



nOME BY THE LATER AN GATE. 255 

the leii2:tli and breadth of the world with 
your hand in mine, you may count on 
all that one man, and that man a brother^ 
can do for another. 

" I shall need your sympathy when I 
come back to my desolate home, and I shall 
need your constant society, and I hope 
then you will find that two are better than 
one. You may wonder what I have heard, 
and I cannot speak plainer. Indeed, all I 
have heard is simply so vague a rumour 
that you may be exposed to annoyance 
from evil tongues, that it is impossible for 
me to form any definite notion myself of 
what has past, or is passing. Therefore, 
all I can say may be summed up in a hasty 
assurance of my faith in you, and unde- 
viating affection. Command me in any 
way you please that may benefit you. And 
when we meet again we may defy the 
world ! 

" One word more : if you will take my 
advice you will fetch Teresa home ; she is 
old enough to be a companion, and to give 
the charm and guarantee of a daughter's 



256 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

presence to your home. Lose no time 
about this. Angela calls me, therefore I 
conclude in haste. 

" Your ever affectionate brother, 

" Clifford." 



257 



CHAPTER XL 

THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD. 

Roger lost no time in taking his brother s 
advice with regard to Teresa. It seemed 
as if he had been waiting for some impulse 
from without to rouse him, partially at 
least, from the state of despondency into 
which he had fallen immediately after the 
dreadful act described in our former chap- 
ter, and in which he had been so active an 
accomplice. It is more than probable that 
had he been hardened enough in wicked- 
ness to carry things with a high hand, and 
brave the vague reports and dark rumours 
that spread through the neighbourhood, 
he would have at once triumphed over 
them. 

VOL. I. S 



258 THE BUCKLYN" SHAIG. 

Roger Clifford, with his noble name, his 
great accomplishments, and the polished 
charm of his manners, possessed too of a 
property which, though not large, enabled 
him to entertain his friends and prove an 
agreeable and useful neighbour, was not 
one of those on whose neck the world is in 
haste to lay an indignant foot. That great 
potentate, the world, is cautious against 
whom she points the finger of scorn, and 
she waits to hear it well confirmed that the 
wretch " has no friends," before she raises 
the cry of " hit him hard." 

But Eoger, in spite of his dark passions 
and reckless ambition, was not altogether 
bad ; and consequently, was wanting in the 
desperate courage that utter depravity 
sometimes imparts. He could help to bury 
the man he had not dared to murder ; and 
now he sat down in his gloomy castle, alone 
with his terrible secret, and wanting in the 
audacity requisite for carrying out his own 
game. He shrank away from those whose 
gaze, had he been a worse man, he ought to 
have braved ; and growing more and more 



THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD. 259 

moody and abstracted, he shut himself up 
with his foreign books, and even seemed to 
think in no language but that of Italian, 
which was almost more familiar to him 
than his own. When he left the house, it 
was generally for a long, and apparently 
objectless ride, alone, over the wide, sweep- 
ing downs that lie between Nutley and the 
coast ; or in the deep back- woods that clothe 
their base. 

His moody habits, however, did not lead 
to his neglecting the superintendence of his 
own or his brother's property. He looked 
minutely into all these questions for him- 
self, and though not naturally so fond of 
country pursuits as his brother he was a far 
more able man of business, and, as the bailiif 
remarked, was " 'cuter far nor his lordship, 
and would see through a stone wall where 
the other would not peep over a hedge." He 
was a much better man of business than one 
whose tastes are chiefly literary is generally 
expected to be. He was minute and accu- 
rate in his investigations, and severe in his 
exactions, but never unjust, and thus he 



260 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

made himself respected by the farmers and 
his own dependants, but not beloved. It 
was exactly the reverse with Lord Clifford, 
who was too indulgent a landlord to press 
eagerly and strenuously his own interests 
in any case where the opposite party might 
have, not unjustly, to suffer ; and in any 
question of opposing rights his lordship's 
claims were sure to be withdrawn in favour 
of his weaker opponent. In many instances 
this system had been carried too far, and 
had led to abuses which had diminished the 
value of the Clifford property. The power 
of supervision could not have beeu thrown 
into better hands than those of Eoger. 
Fond as he had been of play he had never 
cheated at cards, like the wretched man 
who had been his unhappy victim ; in short, 
he had remained a man of honour^ as re- 
garded money transactions, although he 
had been a murderer in will, and an accom- 
plice before and after the fearful act. 

Under his care the property of his brother, 
as well as his own, was rapidly improving, 
but the improvements had not been made 



THE SKELETON I.V THE CUPBOARD. 261 

without exciting a certain degree of vindic- 
tiveness in many an idle farmer or dis- 
honest tradesman, who suddenly found him- 
self, in one instance served with a notice 
to quit, and in the other called to account 
for adulterated goods or inaccurate ac- 
counts. 

It is impossible to rectify abuses without 
making enemies, and this was Eoger's case. 
Of course it had been well known that high 
play was permitted and encouraged at the 
castle. Many of the gentry in the neigh- 
bourhood had learned this to their cost, and 
as the servants had been perfectly aware of 
how Roger and Henry Bethune spent their 
time when they were not innocently killing 
partridges, the rumour that the latter had 
never reached Paris, the gossip of the ser- 
vants and the discontent of the dependants 
on the estate had given a handle to vague 
and unpleasant surmises, to which, pro- 
bably, those who first uttered them attached 
but small importance at the time, but which 
grew gradually but surely into indefinite and 
very injurious suspicions respecting Roger. 



262 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

On the morning of the day when Eoger 
was expecting his little daughter, the bailiff 
from Nutley Hall called to ask whether Mr. 
Clifford would come and see some fences 
dividing the two estates, and which had 
been repaired by his order. Roger had sat 
long that morning over his solitary break- 
fast, and had wandered into all the rooms 
on the ground floor in a restless, uncertain 
way, as if he were examining whether every- 
thing was in order, and as if he were expect- 
ing the arrival of a far more important per- 
sonage than his own daughter. Yincenzo 
had looked half over the house before he 
could find his master, and when he did so 
he did not fail to observe the pre-occupation 
of Roger's manner. 

Yincenzo delivered the message from the 
bailiff, and asked what were Mr. Clifford's 
orders. 

" Tell him," replied Roger, " that I am 
not going out this morning. I will walk 
over and see the fences to-morrow, and 

then . Yincenzo!" he called, as the 

servant half-closed the door, under the im- 



THE SKELETON IX THE CUPBOARD. 263 

pression his master had finished giving his 
orders. Yincenzo re-appeared in the room, 
and Roger, abruptly turning his back as he 
spoke, continued, " When you have dis- 
charged the man, meet me in the study, and 
bring a large tray on which I can pile up 
some books. I want them moved into this 
room, and I intend to lock up the study. 
You will find me there when you have dis- 
missed the bailiff." 

Yincenzo, of course, made no reply be- 
yond a simple acquiescence, but he grew a 
shade paler as his master spoke, for he per- 
ceived by his voice and manner that there 
was something in his mind beyond the 
simple question of removing a few books. 

When Yincenzo returned he found Eoger 
selecting books from the shelves in the 
study, taking manuscripts and papers from 
the drawers, and altogether arranging the 
room as if he were gathering together 
everything in it he would be likely to want, 
and so did not intend to occupy it again. 
The books and papers were conveyed into 
the small drawing-room at the end of the 



264 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

long gallery, and book-cases were fetched 
from other parts of the house to receive 
them, so that at the end of less than an 
hour the drawing-room was metamorphosed 
into the study of a learned man, for with 
Eoger a study really meant a room in which 
he prosecuted his varied and serious pur- 
suits, and not a receptacle for old accounts, 
game books, odd numbers of magazines, 
cedar boxes full of cigars, parliamentary 
papers, and such-like more or less important 
articles which generally form the parapher- 
nalia of the comfortable dens dignified, no- 
body knows why, with the appellation of 
" the study." 

Silently and rapidly the two men, master 
and servant, did their work. Roger was 
paler than usual ; his brow was knit and his 
thin Hps compressed. He stood upon the 
library steps handing down from the top 
shelves the numerous volumes of a duode- 
cimo edition of the Italian classics. They 
were books that had travelled with him far 
and wide, hid away in his pockets, familiar 
friends, well worn, but well kept, and the 



THE SKELETON IX THE CUPBOARD. 265 

very sight of which, and the perfume of 
their Russian leather binding, carried him 
in imagination to very different scenes, when 
he was young — when he was, at least, less 
guilty ; when, in shorty he had not a con- 
science branded by a great and dark crime. 
Yincenzo, too, knew well the little volumes, 
and, safe in the familiarity to which his 
master had become accustomed by so fre- 
quently having foreign servants, he broke 
the long silence at the moment his master 
handed him a well-worn copy of Boccaccio 
that had divided the days with Dante 
through a long spring and summer in beau- 
tiful Florence, some ten years previous. 
Vincenzo twisted the well-remembered book 
in his fingers, and said : 

" Your excellenza should go back to 
where we were when I had orders always 
to put this book out on the dressing-table. 
Florence is better than England. I wish 
we were there." 

Now, for a long time past Roger had 
been feeling that the presence of Yincenzo 
was a constant annoyance. He hated to see 



266 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

the man, the very sight of whom reminded 
him of his dreadful crime ; and yet he dared 
not quarrel with him, or even suggest that 
he should leave. Again and again had he 
made him presents upon some excuse or 
other, and Eoger was perfectly aware that 
Yincenzo found means to pay himself by 
peculation in every branch of responsibility 
which came within his scope in the house- 
hold arrangements ; but it was all taken by 
the rapacious thief as hush-money. Roger 
was powerless to resist. By degrees the 
man had contrived to take upon himself a 
variety of offices which had no sort of 
natural connection with his duties as valet, 
nor indeed with those of butler, a post from 
which he had managed to oust the former 
old servant who had lived at the castle, 
and which he had persuaded his master to 
let him fill, with of course, an increase of 
salary. In short, it had ended in Yincenzo 
being the master spirit of the house. No- 
thing was ordered for household consump- 
tion save through him, with the exception 
of a few things which he had found it im- 



THE SKELETON IX THE CUPBOARD. 267 

possible, on any pretence whatever, to take 
out of the housekeeper's hands. No one 
knew so well as Yincenzo from whence 
came the cognac and the French wines that 
were consumed at his master's table, for he 
managed, under one disguise or another, to 
be himself Mr. CHfiford's wine-merchant in 
that particular branch ; and our readers do 
not need to be told how readily Yincenzo 
could obtain these articles at a low price 
and sell them to Mr. Clifford for nearly as 
much again. There was thus every induce- 
ment to make A^incenzo anxious to remain, 
while the distinct knowledge that an end- 
less and most intricate system of peculation 
was being carried on in his own house by 
the astute rascal whom he dared not accuse 
of it, was about as galling a punishment as 
could possibly have been found for the 
proud nature and exact, accurate habits of 
super\4sion, for which Roger was remark- 
able. It was, moreover, a punishment that 
allowed of no respite, and forbade all 
attempt at investigation. 

Again and again, when Roger had had 



268 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

brought before his notice some nefarious 
act of dishonesty on the part of the man 
he was compelled to trust, and who was 
constantly in attendance upon himself, his 
spirit had writhed at the hated bondage 
which kept him silent. The words that 
would have led to an open rupture between 
the two men literally burnt upon his 
tongue, and he would bite his lips until the 
blood started, in the agony of being unable 
to speak his mind. He would have given 
ten years of his life and half his fortune to 
have been able for once, only once, in safety 
to have had it out with him. He would 
picture to himself what he should say if by 
any accident he could find himself alone 
with the man that dogged his path, and 
was like the shadow of his own evil con- 
science^ alone in a forest in the New World, 
alone in the desert, anywhere out of the 
reach of social laws and conventionalities, 
anywhere that he could have met him, not 
as master to servant, but as man to man, 
and then and there have told him how he 
loathed him ; have cursed him as his tempter 



THE SKELETON IX THE CUPBOARD. 269 

and his accomplice, have made him under- 
stand that his villany had never for a 
moment been unknown to him, that he had 
seen and knew, intimately knew, every 
lying, thieving transaction with which he 
had thought to cheat his master, and that 
now and for ever he hated him, abhorred 
him, renounced liim ! And then, if they 
could only wrestle it out, hand to hand, 
foot to foot. If only once his clenched fist 
might fall on that villain's face, if only once 
he could put his foot on him, he would not 
care if the end of the struggle had left him 
vanquished, so long as once, once only, he 
might speak his mind aloud and strike out 
like a man. 

It was dreadful to walk about his own 
house, feeling that master as he was of all 
around him, there was one miserable wretch 
who might steal and pilfer, and act uni- 
formly in a dishonest and scandalous way, 
and that he could not complain, no, nor 
even glance, a look of displeasure. And 
yet there was that about the man which 
sometimes made Eoger almost doubt whether 



270 THE BUCKLY^ SHAia. 

he were himself fully aware of the advan- 
tage he had over his master. Submissive, 
subservient, attentive, and oily, no word 
ever escaped him that even bordered upon 
impertinence. Sometimes, when the deep, 
silent hate which Eoger carried in his 
bosom would, in spite of himself, bubble up 
into a few angry words, generally called 
forth not at all by really one of the bad 
deeds of his servant (for then he was on his 
guard, and was reminded by the greatness 
of the fault of his own inability to com- 
plain), but by some accidental and uninten- 
tional neglect or mistake, he would suddenly 
stop, and be again silent and patient by 
thinking he saw the sallow face grow a 
shade more sallow, and the deep-sunk, dark 
eye twinkle with a slight glitter of malig- 
nity. But, on the whole, the Italian was so 
uniformly and obsequiously attentive, so all- 
devoted to his master's wishes, so observant 
of his wants, and so mindful of his tastes 
and ways, that it was as impossible to blame 
him for little things as it would have been 
dangerous to take notice of actual dishonesty. 



THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD. 271 

All that the unhappy Roger could do, 
hamj)ered as he was by his own guilty con- 
science, was to resolve that if ever Yincenzo 
gave him the slightest loophole for hoping 
he might be induced to quit his service, he 
Avould instantly close with it. He would 
make it worth his while to go, if only any- 
thing he could give would induce him to 
leave the house and the country. But 
hitherto Yincenzo had uttered no word 
that could possibly be construed into a 
wish for change ; and Roger could only 
conclude that his present position was far 
too profitable a one to be lightly relin- 
quished. 

When, however, Roger's eager ear caught 
those words, " Florence is better than Eng- 
land; I wish we were there," he felt his 
heart stop w^ith the vehement hope that 
possibly the familiar fiend might be induced 
to leave him. For a second he dared not 
speak lest his voice should betray him. 
Still turning his face to the book-shelves, 
to conceal the red flush which had covered 
his brow, as the blood that had for a mo- 



272 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

ment been held fast in Lis heart burst 
through his veins and set his pulses rapidly 
beating, he said, in a quiet tone, " If you 
prefer Florence to England, Yincenzo, you 
can go there when you please. You have 
served me a long time in this, to you 
foreign, land, and I would never hinder 
your return, but rather forward it, when- 
ever you wish it." 

There was a pause, and Roger's heart 
again ceased to beat. At length, as Roger 
descended the steps, and stood face to face 
with his servant, the latter replied : 

" Florence is not my home, sir. I should 
be a stranger there as I am here, and there- 
fore may as well stop where I am." 

" I know," replied Roger, " that Genoa is 
your native place, but it comes to the same 
thing. If you wish to return there, I should 
be very sorry to detain you here, and in- 
deed " 

But Roger was stopped by Yincenzo 
saying, slowly and with emphasis : 

" Your eccellenza is very good. When 
you have done with my services, you have 



THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD. 273 

only to say so ; till then I have no wish to 
leave this country." 

As he said these words, he stepped back- 
wards, still looking at Koger, and as he 
passed towards the door, he laid one hand 
on the large desk that stood over the fatal 
spot so well known to both, and without 
once moving his eyes from his master's face 
said : 

** Does your eccellenza require any of 
these books to be removed ?" 

He could not have said more or done 
more to make his meaning plain. Eoger 
turned ghastly pale, and staggered. He 
replied that he wanted no more books, that 
he had removed all he required, and the 
stealthy Italian, bowing respectfully, glided 
noiselessly from the room, closing the door 
after him, and leaving his wretched master 
alone to his reflections. And terrible in- 
deed they were. With clenched hands and 
brow damp with agony, Roger paced the 
room, grinding his teeth, and inwardly 
cursing his own destiny and the fiend who 
governed it. 

VOL. I. T 



274 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

That morning, the first for many a long 
day, gentler feelings had stolen into his 
heart. The thought of Teresa's return, a 
vague hope that the presence of his lovely 
and innocent child might bring some balm 
to his troubled soul ; a dreamy, tender, 
remorseful regret about the young mother 
of his child, whom he had not rendered 
happy, and whom he had laid in an early 
grave, little mourned at the time, but now 
looming in the twilight of his sad memories, 
together with other lost joys, lost hopes, 
and wasted opportunities. All this had 
come before him that bright spring morn- 
ing, with more of tender emotion and less 
of bitterness than he was used to ; and 
Teresa's arrival seemed like a ray of sun- 
shine lighting up the gloom of his heart 
and opening the possibility of a calmer and 
better future. While thus musing, he had 
remembered, with the same sudden pang 
that was always new though it was always 
there, the horror that was connected with 
the room called his study. He fancied his 
child skipping across that tainted floor^ 



THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD. 275 

perhaps some day playfully endeavouring 
to push aside the heavy reading-desk, per- 
haps recalling to him some vague recollec- 
tion of having heard in her childhood that 
there was an old well beneath the flooring. 
And as these ghastly images crowded on 
his brain and excited his imagination, he 
formed the resolution which we have 
watched him carrying out, of moving the 
volumes he was most likely to read into 
another room, and keeping the study locked 
up. 

There is a freemasonry of thought among 
the wicked, as there is the communion of 
saints among the good, and no doubt Yin- 
cenzo had fully read and fully understood 
his master's meaning. It was an oppor- 
tunity not to be lost, and he seized it to 
rivet the chain afresh, and to show his 
victim that the bonds of sin are not so soon 
to be shaken off, and that let him struggle as 
he would, and grope after a better future 
as he might, the past still remained, and, 
owing to that past, neither could get rid 
of the other^ except by a mutual understand- 



276 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

ing. There was no remorse in Yincenzo's 
nature. The time with him was passed for 
that. The devil rewards his best votaries 
so far in this Hfe as sometimes to blind them 
completely, and to leave such callous insen- 
sibility in their souls that vice loses all its 
bitterness, and conscience all its sting ; and 
in their place there is the drowsiness of a 
brutalised nature, the chuckle of guilty 
success, and the eagerness of triumphant 
sin. 

As Vincenzo closed the door on Eoger, 
the two men presented a strange contrast. 
Agony, remorse, horror depicted on the 
countenance of the one, and a cold, [self- 
congratulatory smile on that of the other. 
**I have him fast," said he to himself. 
" Does he think I have got all my reward 
out of him yet ? No, no, eccellenza ; a good 
murder that saved .you from ruin deserves 
more than that. I am not going home to 
my old jeweller's shop in Genoa till I have 
lined my pockets with a great many more 
of your good English guineas. It is true 
you have raised my wages, made me pre- 



THE SKELETON IX THE CUPBOARD. 277 

sents, and the dead man's effects sold for a 
pretty sum, but I value the risking my 
neck at a higher figure than I have yet 
touched; and your sneaking remorse and 
miserable fears must make you bleed a little 
more before you can send your faithful ser- 
vant across the Mediterranean, and so com- 
fortably be rid of him. 

The smirk grew to a laugh as Vincenzo 
entered the servant's hall ; and he startled 
Nancy, who had come to fetch something, 
by chucking her under the chin in a familiar 
manner which she deeply resented, and that 
only made him laugh the more. 

Meanwhile the unhappy Roger was pacing 
the room in an excited manner, maddened 
by the feeling that, do what he would, he 
could not be rid of the witness and partner 
of his crime. If Vincenzo could have been 
dismissed, there seemed some hope that the 
pangs of remorse would soften with time ; 
at least his memory of the past might 
mellow with revolving years. Or, perhaps 
— w?iO can say ? — perhaps he might one day 
change the despair of remorse into the soft 



278 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

feelings of contrition, and die at last peni- 
tent, and pardoned by God though never by- 
man. With this half-shadowy thought came 
back the lost image of his gentle wife, and 
the paternal hopes linked with the existence 
of Teresa. Neglected in her lifetime, and 
hardly valued, save as a pretty appendage 
to himself and as adorning his house, the 
memory of Mildred, buried far-off in a 
distant land, came back to him full of 
regret, full of pensive sadness. He thought 
how, in those younger days, he had turned 
from all the real happiness that lay at his 
very feet, and rushed after excitement, 
change, and adventure. He had worn out 
the love of the sweet companion who would 
have been his good angel, until she had 
learnt to long for the grave into which she 
had descended so early ; and now what 
would he not have given for one year, nay 
one month, of her dear presence again ? 

The dissipation of Eoger's past life had 
not been simply the wild careless pleasure- 
hunting of hot youth. It had been deeper, 
more concentrated, more intellectual, and. 



THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD. 279 

therefore, perhaps more guilty. There had 
been as much contrast between the evil 
doings of Eoger Clifford and Henry Bethune 
as there had been between the external ap- 
pearance and manners of the two men. 
Roger had coldly and calmly succeeded in 
breaking the heart of the lovely girl he had 
made his wife, by systematic neglect far 
more than by giving her any real cause for 
jealousy. Had she been jealous, it would 
have been more of his abstracted studies, 
his unflinching ambition, and his constant 
and unremitting hunt after gold, than of 
any attraction exercised over him by others 
of her own sex. 

Henry Bethune had been gay, lively, 
false, and a swindler. Roger was cold, 
serious, grasping, but honourable ; and pos- 
sibly he would at any time have found it 
easier to consent to the murder of his enemy 
and help to bury him, as we have seen him 
do, than to cheat and swindle him with a 
smiling face and a bland smile like Henry 
Bethune. 

As Roger, subsiding from the violent 



280 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

emotion lie had suffered, sat gloomily mus- 
ing in the arm-chair of his study that he 
was so soon to lock up and leave as a con- 
demned room in the house, he dwelt with 
increasing horror upon the thought that 
Teresa would be dwelling with the man 
he hated. His blood curdled at the idea 
that his innocent child would be waited 
upon by the servant who knew of her father's 
guilt, who had instigated it and assisted in 
it. Had it been possible it would have been 
an alleviation at least to have given Yincenzo 
some position that would have taken him 
out of the house, such as that of bailiff ; but 
his being a foreigner put this quite out of 
the question, and he felt more keenly than 
ever that nothing but Yincenzo's own wish 
could ever rid him of his presence. 

He did not, of course, even in his most 
nervously-excited state, apprehend by any 
chance that Teresa could receive so much as 
a hint of the state of the case. She at least 
would be protected against that. But he 
had not the same security with regard to 
his son. Kobert had been at home for some 



THE SKELETON IX THE CUPBOARD. 281 

time during the summer after the departure 
of Lord CHfford, and consequently some 
months before the murder. Roger had had 
plenty of opportunity of noticing the fatal 
effects of the education he had given his 
son. He had perceived that Yincenzo paid 
great court to the young heir, and Eobert, 
who, in his earlier days had, as we have 
seen, been too often placed almost under 
Yincenzo's care, seemed to have an affection 
for the servant which for every reason was 
most undesirable. 

There, then, was another anxiety. Robert 
would soon be coming home, and this time it 
was to remain. Having no profession, his 
father knew the only thing to do with him 
was to let him live at the Castle, and begin 
to take some active interest in the estate ; 
though how far he was adapted for that 
kind of life, and how far his father's close 
and jealous temper would admit of his 
being anything more than an idler about 
the place, was still a very doubtful question. 
Roger had been simply and entirely glad 
when Robert, weary of the dull country 



282 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

and of snch society as was to be found at 
the castle, had asked leave to resume for 
another year his wandering life. There 
was but little love lost between father and 
son ; for having very much the same faults, 
they were sure to clash perpetually ; and to 
the same faults Eobert added much more 
recklessness than had ever, even in liis 
youngest days, marked his father's cha- 
racter. In short he was at once more of a 
villain and less of a gentleman. And yet 
if only Robert could be induced to live at 
home, and in no marked way outrage de- 
corum and morality, Roger felt that his 
son's presence, as well as that of Teresa, 
would be a guarantee to himself ; and that, 
with his two children by his side, he might 
get up his spirits and his courage sufficiently 
to try and shake off the appearance of 
gloom and the habits of solitude which, far 
more than any rumours connected with 
Henry Bethune's disappearance, had done 
him harm in the opinions of his neighbours. 
When Roger had received Lord CHfford's 
letter urging the speedy return of Teresa, 



THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD. 283 

be had answered it in a way to elude all 
direct reference to the cause of his unpopu- 
larity. He had thanked his brother for bis 
kind zeal and interest, and bad owned that 
in bis and Angela's absence from the ball, 
be certainly did find his life rather solitary, 
adding : 

*' As I never think of marrying again, 
and no home goes on well or cheerily with- 
out the presence of a woman, I believe 
you are right in saying I ought to have 
Teresa home. The great objection to doing 
so is that unfortunately she is still so 
young that it hardly seems right to 
have her here without some lady older 
than herself; and my submitting to the 
presence of a governess or a companion is 
so utterly out of the question, that I cannot 
entertain the thought for a moment. How- 
ever, as I did not mould my own destiny, I 
must just take it as I find it, and so must 
Teresa. I believe in the course of a few 
months some old friends of mine, the Count 

and Countess de C will be coming over 

to England; and I have written to the 



284 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

countess to beg she will take Teresa from 
the Ursuline Convent, and bring her over 
with them. I cannot deny that I am looking 
forward with more of paternal feelings than 
I believed I possessed to seeing the poor 
child again. And so thus ends most probably 
my intention of making a nun of her. I can 
only hope that she may some day find a good 
husband, who will be content with a pretty 
wife and a very small fortune. But the 
difficulty will be to find one. There is only 
one eligible Catholic match in the whole 
neighbourhood : of course you know I 
allude to the heir of the Kedcliffs. And I 
fear that in giving her a convent education, 
I have destroyed my best chance of getting 
her to consent to a mixed marriage, even 
were a Protestant young gentleman to pre- 
sent himself." 

The rest of the letter gave a detailed ac- 
count of some of the important reforms that 
Eoger had effected on his brother s estate, 
and of how in doing so he had necessarily 
made many enemies amongst the lower 
classes, and that they would give a great 



THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD. 285 

deal to be able to show their spite j thereby 
adroitly insinuating that anything disagree- 
able that might have reached Lord Clifford's 
ears took its rise solely from the zealous 
efforts he had made in his brother's interest. 
If not the whole truth, it was at least part 
of the truth, and it would bind his brother 
to him more than ever, a result for which 
Roger was especially solicitous. 

The day wore on, and still Roger sat in 
the fatal room, that was henceforth only to 
exist as forbidden ground in the castle, 
haunted with ghastly memories. It was 
indeed on a large scale, that cupboard with 
the inevitable skeleton that lies somewhere 
hidden in every house, and whose grim 
occupant stalks forth at night and rattles 
his bones within hearing of the individuals 
who know but too well what it is. Some- 
times it is a traditional skeleton, and the 
members of the family will occasionally 
huddle together with closed dors, and con- 
cert with each other what can be done to 
keep that fatal cupboard locked, and pre- 
vent the skeleton from slipping off his nail 



286 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

and shocking everybody out of their pro- 
priety by walking into the banqueting-hall. 
Sometimes it is a private skeleton, known 
only to one sad inmate in that large house, 
and who bears his burden alone, and wrestles 
with his enemy in the dead of the night. 
But surely there are few roofs that harbour 
such a skeleton as that at Eaymond Castle ! 
At length Roger roused himself to go. 
Sometime previous he had had a special 
lock put upon the two doors of this room, 
that he might always feel secure that no 
one could enter it without his permission, 
should he see fit to keep it locked. And so 
he passed out of it, and turned the key, 
and went back to the room he had been 
preparing for Teresa, and where but a few 
hours before he had himself been arranging 
some pictures and ornaments to make it 
more like a lady's boudoir, with almost a 
feeling as if there might be even for him 
some future possible happiness. The inter- 
view with Vincenzo had dissipated the 
illusion. 



287 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE ANGEL OF THE HOUSE. 

The housekeeper had been sent to London 
to meet Teresa, and to receive her from the 

hands of the Countess de C . She had 

left her convent some weeks previous, and 
had been stopping with her father's friends 
in Paris, in order to allow time for her to 
exchange the dark blue dress — a fac-simile 
of which she had appeared in on her arrival 
four years previous at Nutley Hall, and the 
recollection of which had so haunted her 
father's fastidious taste that he had written 
to beg she might be furnished with a com- 
plete trousseau of more worldly habiliments 
— before she quitted Paris. The result 
had been altogether satisfactory, for the 



288 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

Countess de C understood the matter 

thoroughly, and had been greatly pleased 
with having the charge of her old friend's 
lovely daughter ; nor had she confined her 
duties to buying clothes, for when she saw 
the effect they produced in enhancing 
Teresa's beauty, she had been unable to 
resist the temptation to carry her young 
protegee a little into the gay world of Paris, 
and she had done so with the greatest suc- 
cess. And so at length when the post- 
chaise drove up to the door, and Eoger was 
standing at a little distance in the long 
gallery, and feeling a little strange but 
decidedly pleased, he was almost startled to 
see before him a very lovely girl ; not like 
a school-child, not like a nun, but beaming 
with youth and bright beauty, exquisitely 
dressed, graceful in every movement, and 
with two large, glorious dark eyes looking 
out of a face of the most perfect oval, with 
a complexion of clear, dead white, lips of 
the deepest crimson, and teeth of faultless 
regularity. There was no shyness, no con- 
straint in her manner. Father and daugh- 



THE ANGEL OF THE HOUSE. 289 

ter had not met for four years, and yet this 
beautiful creature sprang forward with open 
arms ; the two little hands in a second were 
lightly placed on his shoulders, and with 
one little clear ringing cry of " My dear 
father !" he found himself kissed on both 
cheeks before he had had presence of mind 
to move a step. He took her hands in his, 
and held her off a pace, not speaking, but 
scanning that sweet, bright face with a 
pleased smile. At last he said : 

" Why, Teresa, I thought you were a 
child !" 

" A child, papa ? Don't you remember 
I am eighteen, and quite a woman now ? 
It is so long ago since you saw me I hardly 
wonder you have forgotten all about me. 
But now, dear papa, I am coming to live 
with you, and keep your house, and try to 
make you love me, though you do know so 
little about me. Ah, papa, I am so glad to 
come home !" 

The large eyes glistened for a moment 
brighter still from the tears of joy that 
filled them; and it was, perhaps, not 

VOL. T u 



290 THE BUCKLYN SHAia. 

strange that the eyes that looked into them 
were moistened also, unused as they were 
to any tears, save those of bitterness. 

He took her to her room, and waited 
upon her in a thousand little ways to make 
quite sure she had all she required. She 
had brought a French maid with her not 
many years older than herself, and prepared 
to die of ennui in the gloomy castle pe- 
rennially surrounded by fog — a view of the 
subject to which she had made up her 
mind as a matter of course. 

It was a strange sensation to Eoger to 
find himself sitting after dinner tete-a-tete 
with his new-found daughter. He began 
to wonder why he had left himself without 
her society so long, till he recollected that 
his intention had been that she should enter 
the religious life. That thought seemed to 
him now so uncalled-for as to be quite pre- 
posterous. He could not recollect why he 
had ever wished it ; and as he contemplated 
the graceful figure before him, and watched 
the little fingers busily working, the bend 
of her small head, with its wealth of brown 



THE AXGEL OF THE HOUSE. 291 

hair, the little ear peeping out from beneath 
the wavy curls like a small white shell ; as 
he watched the long* lashes fall on a cheek 
that had caught the tint of the roseleaf, he 
could not conceive what had ever put it 
into his head to deprive himself for life of 
such a treasure-store of youth and charm, 
when he had it in his power to grace his 
own home with it — at least for a time. 
And then her voice was so melodious, it 
had such variety of tones, and rose and fell 
in such harmonious cadence that he kept 
asking her questions about the convent and 
about what she had seen and done in Paris, 
far more to listen to the sound than to get 
information. She was like her mother, but 
she was more truly beautiful, and he thought 
he perceived that she had that elasticity of 
mind, the want of which he had always felt 
in his poor wife, though the probability is 
that he himself had broken the spring, and 
then complained it did not act. 

In short, it was altogether so new, so 
strange, and so full of promise, that Eoger 
already began to fancy himself a better and 



292 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

a happier man, and for that evening even 
the presence of Yincenzo, and all the recol- 
lections which that inspired, were nearly lost 
sight of. 

Before a week was over, Teresa was 
thoroughly installed in the castle as its 
mistress and good angel. She had created 
her position by from the first taking it for 
granted it was to be hers. She laid claim 
to her father's affections as mihesitatingly 
as if she had always enjoyed them. With- 
out shyness, and yet with perfect delicacy, 
she had taken it for granted she was to be 
his companion under all circumstances 
where such was possible. The frankness 
with which she talked to him necessarily in 
great measure broke through his own re- 
serve ; and though he would sit with her 
for an hour together, seldom saying more 
than just enough to keep her talking, yet 
she felt his eyes were upon her, and that 
he was giving her a pleased and kindly 
attention. 

She quickly found out that he was a 
great Italian scholar, and thereupon insisted 



THE AX GEL OF THE HOUSE. 293 

upon learning the language herself, and 
taking him for her preceptor. At first he 
thought it would prove a mere caprice ; 
but when he found long exercises brought 
him to correct, day after day, he saw that 
she was thoroughly in earnest about that as 
she was about everything she undertook. 
He soon learnt that whenever Teresa began 
a thing she meant to go on with it, and 
that, in truth, she generally managed to 
secure success by a mixture of perseverance 
and of sweetness, which no one could long 
resist. 

There were, however, two subjects upon 
which she never touched with her father, 
and these were the two nearest her own 
heart — her religion and her mother's me- 
mory. Her perceptions were as true as 
they were delicate — and indeed they can 
never be the one without being the other 
also — and she had from the first instant 
perceived not only that she should meet 
with but little sympathy from her father on 
these matters, but that also there was a 
sternness in his manner which made her 



294 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

apprehensive of displeasing him by allusion 
to them. With regard to her mother she 
was too loving and innocent herself to 
attribute her father's silence to anything 
but the depth and intensity of his feelings, 
which rendered all reference to his lost wife 
only too painful. But upon the subject of 
religion she was seriously anxious, and felt 
that, so far as was consistent with her 
obedience and submission as a daughter, 
she was bound not to let the subject go by 
default. She had reached the castle on a 
Tuesday, and all that week had passed with- 
out any reference to the subject upon which 
all her thoughts were bent. When Sunday 
came, and she was dressed to walk the short 
distance across the park to the little chapel, 
she had taken it for granted she should find 
her father ready in the hall to accompany 
her. He was not there, but Yincenzo was 
laying out his master's hat and gloves as if 
he were exjoecting him to go out soon. 
She paused a moment, and then asked the 
servant if her father were nearly ready for 
mass. The man continued his occupation 



THE AXGEL OF THE HOUSE. 295 

without raising his head, and did not reply 
till she repeated the question. Probably 
by that time he had made up his mind it 
would be better to tell her the whole truth 
at once. So he replied : 

" No, signorina, my master is not ready, 
nor will he be. Mr. Clifford never goes to 
mass here." 

Teresa changed colour, but immediately 
felt it was not a subject on which it would 
be possible for her to make any reply to the 
servant. So, recovering herself quickly, 
she said : 

" Will you be so good as to tell my father 
I am gone ?" 

She left the house with a heavy heart. 
Sunday after Sunday her father missed his 
mass of obligation, and that entailed missing 
all his other religious obligations. It was 
awful to think of, and she must make up 
her mind whether she was not bound to 
pluck up enough courage to ask him to 
accompany her the following week. When 
she returned home, nothing was said by 
Mr. Clifford on the subject. He seemed to 



296 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

look upon it quite as a matter of course 
that she was to go and he was to stop 
away. 

Teresa was resolved to do nothing in 
haste, lest she should spoil her sacred task 
by precipitation ; but she was quite resolved 
that nothing should interfere with her own 
pious practices so far as she was free to 
continue them. And as her father did not 
breakfast till after nine, she had ample time, 
those bright summer mornings, to go to 
eight o'clock mass, and be back again before 
she could even be missed. She had many 
hours in the day when she was entirely left 
to herself, for her father was out a great 
deal ; and even when he was in the house 
his habits of study were too ancient and 
rooted for him to break through them en- 
tirely, though certainly his books did not 
engross as much of his attention as before 
his daughter's arrival. 

Teresa decided on endeavouring to obtain 
some more information about her father's 
religious, or rather anti-religious, sentiments 
before she uttered a word to him ; and con- 



THE ANGEL OF THE HOUSE. 297 

sequently a day or two after the first shock 
of finding he did not even go to mass, Mrs. 
Brown the housekeeper, who had lived in 
the family for years, having come to the 
drawing-room to speak with Teresa on 
domestic affairs, she thought it was better at 
once to ask what she wanted to know. So 
when dinner was ordered, and business dis- 
missed, just as Mrs. Brown was on the point 
of leaving the room, she stopped her, and 
said, with a slight tremor in her voice : 

" Mrs. Brown, I am not afraid of asking 
you a question which I could not put to 
any one in the house except yourself. You 
have known me since I was a child, and 
you knew " (and here her voice faltered, and 
tears came into her eyes) " my poor mother. 
I want you to tell me, is it true that my 
father never goes to mass? He did not 
come with me last Sunday, although there 
was nothing that I knew of to prevent him ; 
and when I happened, in the hall while 
waiting for him, to ask Yincenzo if he were 
coming, he replied that he never went." 

Before Mrs. Brown had opened her lips, 



298 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Teresa, saw by her countenance, that her 
avowal was not going to be a satisfactory 
one. Mrs. Brown shook her head sadly, 
and said : 

" Indeed, miss, I grieve to say, it is too 
true. Mr. Clifford never goes to mass here. 
When his lordship is at Nutley, and my 
master is stopping there, he does go some- 
times with the rest of the family. I sup- 
pose he feels he could hardly help himself 
there, for his lordship is very particular, 
and my lady still more so ; and Mr. Clifford 
is such a gentleman he would not like to 
annoy anybody. But you know, miss, it is 
not exactly being a gentleman that will 
make him a good Christian, and, certainly, 
when he is in his own house, though per- 
haps I ought not to say it to his daughter, 
he might be an infidel for all he seems to 
think of his religion. But there, miss, I 
don't want to pain you," she added, as she 
saw two large tears brimming over in 
Teresa's eyes, " only as you, miss, know 
what is right, and have been brought up in 
a Catholic country, a convent and all, we 



THE AXGEL OF THE HOUSE. 299 

do liope, we all hope, miss, and Father 
Netberby says the same, that in time, you 
may bring master round, and that will be a 
happiness for all of us." 

*' And how was it, Mrs. Brown, in my 
poor mother's time ?" 

" Oh well, miss, it wasn't as it should 
have been, nohow. Your mamma, miss, 
was an angel, and I suppose that is why she 
died. She was too good for this world, and 
too good for the fate that befell her; not 
but what, miss^ we are all attached to Mr. 
Clifford in a way. He is a just master, 
though he is a gentleman to be afraid of. 
But, as I always say, if he had other people 
about him besides those that be about him, 
he would be a different gentleman alto- 
gether. It is not only ' like master like 
man,' Miss Teresa, it's sometimes like man 
like master. There is no one can abide Mr, 
Yincenzo ; and he, you know, has master's 
right ear; and when anything is done as 
should not be done, lor bless you, miss, it's 
ten to ten thousand, that that foreigneering 
rascal is at the bottom of it. I beg your 



300 THE BUCKLYN" SHAIG. 

pardon, miss, I am afraid I am saying more 
than I ought to do. But I would not have 
you think, miss, that the fault is all with 
your dear papa. And we are all so pleased 
to see how fond he grows of you. And who 
knows, miss, hut what you are come on 
purpose to change the face of things ? and 
you'll get your papa round to your way of 
thinking, aye, and perhaps Master Eobert, 
too, in time ; for that's a worse case still." 

" Tell me, Mrs. Brown," said Teresa, in 
a low voice, husky with her choking tears, 
" Was my mother not happy with my 
father ?" 

Mrs. Brown made no verbal reply; but 
she looked hard at Teresa, pressed her lips 
very tight, shook her head very slowly, 
gave a great sigh, and turning to leave the 
room laid her hand on the door. 

" Stop one moment, Mrs. Brown," said 
Teresa. " Can you give me — may I have 
the key of my dear mother's oratory ? I 
remember it always used to be kept locked, 
I suppose it is so still." 

Mrs. Brown replied that she would fetch 



THE AXGEL OF THE HOUSE. 301 

it, and left the room. When she returned, 
she found Teresa with traces of tears on her 
pale cheeks. 

*' Now, my dear young lady/' said the 
motherly old woman, " you must not let 
what I have said make you unhappy. It is 
as well, perhaps^ that you should know just 
what is before you^ and what kind of a 
house you have come back to. And thinks 
I to myself, it is better the dear young 
heart should learn all about it from an old 
woman like me, as knew all the family be- 
fore she was born, than go on finding it all 
out by degrees, and perhaps not knowing 
what to do, or which way to turn. With 
God's help, miss, you'll make all different, 
and that's what Father Netherby says : 
and he knew your blessed mother, aye, 
and our sweet Lady Clifford, too, who is 
so ill that nothing but a miracle can save 
her." 

By this time, Teresa's tears were flowing 
fast, and Mrs. Brown was beginning to re- 
pent of the whole conversation. She 
soothed her with kind words ; she flattered 



302 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

her, to try and raise her courage, and she 
did not leave her until she heard Teresa say 
quite calmly that Mrs. Brown had done 
quite right in telling her the whole ; and 
that she hoped she would pray for her, that 
she might have the strength and the 
prudence necessary for the difficult posi- 
tion in which she was placed. 

It often happens to us, that beneath the 
surface of our daily avocations and the 
routine of our life, we have a vague sense 
there is lying some new duty not yet real- 
ised that is waiting only for a special occa- 
sion to put it plainly before us, and make us 
hear that trumpet-call of conscience '^ Arise 
and walk!" Suddenly, the voice of God 
wakes us from our slumbers, and summons 
us to our new task. Shuddering at our 
weakness, thrilled through with the sense 
of a new responsibility^ and yet braced with 
the hope of fulfilling a duty, and giving 
glory to God, we resolve and prepare ; and, 
from that hour a change has passed over 
the soul. It takes but a moment ; but that 
moment is decisive. The heart is older by 



THE ANGEL OF THE HOUSE. 303 

years. The boy has become a man, and the 
dreaming girl wakes up full of purpose into 
the calm, serious woman. It is a shower of 
grace on the soul, like the showers in the 
natural world between a radiant morn and 
a hot noontide, when the warm well nur- 
tured rosebud expands at once, and all the 
enclosed beauties of its crimson heart are 
laid open to the sun. 

Teresa's feelings on returning home from 
her convent education, had been such as 
were natural to her age, tempered by the 
seriousness and piety of her own character. 
But she had not been long there before the 
vague sense of some grave new duty was 
dimly stirring in her heart. And now it 
all burst upon her. Eaymond Castle had 
had no mistress for eighteen long years, 
and its last mistress, her own lost mother, 
had spent there a few years only, and those 
unhappy. Meanwhile, a godless man had 
come and gone, as his views or his pleasures 
had impelled him, and that man was her 
father; and the only other figure in the 
dark picture was her brother, and that, as 



304 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

Mrs. Brown had said, '' was a worse case 
still." This was her home, these were her 
prospects, and alone and unaided she would 
have to steer her course ; and what was 
harder, to try and guide others. For a 
space, it seemed to her as if the very ground 
were sinking beneath her. As she stood at 
the window, looking over the sweeping park 
to the long line of downs fringed with wood 
that bordered the horizon, it seemed to her 
as if a change had passed even over the 
external world, and a grey mist fallen upon 
nature. For a moment the light had gone 
out in her heart, and that is the light in 
which we see the world outside us. But 
by degrees, her inner sense caught the 
clarion sound of conscience and of duty. 
Like a spirit it came, breathing music ; 
dappling with footsteps of light the green 
undulations of the swelling hills ; thrilling 
over the forest leaves that turned trembling 
their paler surface to the sky ; breaking 
the stagnant pools into sudden smiles, and 
with a rush of glory flashing up the sloping 
park, where the dappled deer were for a 



THE AXGEL OF THE HOUSE. 305 

moment swatlied in light, and straightway 
falHng on the grey castle walls with a flood 
of golden sunshine. 

Utter abnegation of herself — absolute 
devotion to a fixed purpose, that was what 
Teresa saw before her, and what with 
intense earnestness, she adopted and em- 
braced. She must win her father, and lead 
him to God : and to accomplish that, every- 
thing if needs be, must make way ; no 
mere joy of youth lay before her ; no day 
dreams of a future for herself. The pre- 
sent absorbed all, and must continue to do 
so each hour, as it came and ceased to be 
the past and was not yet the future. The 
present ! — the present ! All duty lies in 
that, all grace, all eternity. No schemes 
for future development, no dreams of vast 
improvement to come ! The great now is 
the only reality for us, for all else hangs on 
it. foolish man ! crush into the present 
moment all thy being. Let this instant 
beat of thy heart be the one most vehement 
in love to God, most abject in penitence, 
most ardent in faith. This is your oppor- 

VOL. I. X 



306 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

tunitj. This, and no other, is yours, and 
at the end of it hangs Eternity ! 

Teresa pondered much and long on the 
work she saw before her, and with a 
maturity of thought beyond her years and 
experience, decided that it would be impos- 
sible to attempt anything abrupt or marked 
towards accomplishing the task of getting 
deeper into her father's confidence, and so 
of endeavouring to obtain a permanent and 
beneficial influence over him. She felt it 
could only be done by making him love her, 
and being herself full of affection towards 
him she did not apprehend much difficulty 
in that. On the contrary, she felt that she 
had already made as much way as she could 
expect, and even more. 

But as the question of what was to be 
done in the complicated incidents of home 
life were sure to be, from time to time, 
difficult and embarrassing ; she resolved on 
taking Father Netherby — that old friend of 
the family, into her confidence, and de- 
termined to be guided, not only by his 
advice as a priest, but by his knowledge of 



THE AXGEL OF THE HOUSE. 307 

Ler father, and the experience he must have 
acquired in his intimate relations with the 
whole family. 

She found Father Netherby all kindness 
and sympathy ; but at first, she was a little 
chilled by his apparent want of hopeful- 
ness, and she was struck by his betraying 
far more anxiety about herself, and giving 
her more paternal advice with respect to 
her own private conduct, than by any lively 
interest he seemed to take in the efforts she 
was so anxious to make with regard to her 
father. He rather seemed to shrink from 
the idea of coming to the castle to see her ; 
except, perhaps, at very rare intervals, and 
did not at all share her innocent convic- 
tions that if only he would accept the in- 
vitations she felt so hopeful of inducing her 
father to send, a little more intercourse 
between Mr. Clifford and the priest must 
result in effecting all else she desired. 

"You know my daughter," said Father 
Netherby, calmly and sadly, " it is not that 
Mr. Clifford is ignorant upon any point 
connected with the faith. Your father is. 



308 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

perhaps, as well read in doctrinal theology 
as I am, who have made it my study all 
my life. It is not his reason or intellect 
that has to be attacked, it is his heart. 
And that I believe and trust you may be 
able to touch, by constantly letting him 
find in you a dutiful and most affectionate 
daughter, showing yourself subservient to 
his wishes in all questions that do not affect 
your conscience ; but firm as a rock when- 
ever your duty happens (which God grant 
may never be the case) to clash with his 
wishes." 

Teresa soon found that in her conversa- 
tions with Father Netherby, she obtained 
always a great deal of valuable advice, 
while at the same time, she gathered very 
little information respecting facts. Father 
Netherby seldom made any remark which 
served to throw any light upon her father's 
character.. And though he talked to her a 
great deal about her mother, and had a 
whole store of anecdotes of her kindness to 
the poor, her sweetness, and her piety, yet 
the discourse never elicited any account of 



THE ANGEL OF THE HOUSE. 309 

why, or in what way, Mrs. Chfford's mar- 
riage had not been a happy one. Every- 
thing was taken for granted, but nothing 
was explained. At first, this a httle sur- 
prised and disappointed Teresa. But as 
time went on she felt how wise and right it 
was. 

Teresa had heard from Father Netherby, 
and also from Mrs. Brown^ of Lady Clifford's 
precarious state of health. She had asked 
her father about it, and he had confirmed 
the statement that her aunt was very ill. 
But as he had not dwelt upon the subject, 
Teresa had failed to perceive that it was not 
merely a question of being out of healthy 
but one of life and death, which any mo- 
ment might decide unfavourably. Teresa's 
afi'ection for her aunt, who had indeed been 
a second mother to her, was unbounded. 
And though she had now not seen her for 
a very long time, long at least in so young 
a life, yet every association of affection and 
happiness was connected with Lady Clifford 
in Teresa's memory. One of the first rides 
she took with her father^ she entreated to 



310 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

be taken to Nutley Hall, and when there 
had dismounted, and leaving her father in 
the library, had run all over the house, 
visiting the nursery and Lady Clifford's 
own dressing-room, and the now disused 
chapel; uttering aloud exclamations of 
tenderness to the very walls, and smiling 
and weeping by turns_, as countless inci- 
dents of her early childhood were recalled 
to her mind by the objects in the house. 

She had begun her course in the highest 
spirits, but by the time she had revisited 
each nook, scanned the titles of old well- 
remembered story-books in their school- 
room, stumbled in the dark passage over 
Rose's rocking-horse, and found the empty 
cage where her pet canary had lived, she 
was more than subdued ; and when she 
returned to her father she looked pale, and 
had evidently been weeping. She found 
him absorbed in an old edition of Froissart, 
that he had wanted to consult, and she 
stood full five minutes looking through her 
tears out of the window upon the garden, 
and the shady cedars, and the haw-haw, 



THE ANGEL OF THE HOUSE. 311 

before he even noticed her presence. When 
he declared himself ready to mount, she fol- 
lowed in silence, and through the rest of 
that day's ride but little was said by either 
party. Once or twice Eoger looked fur- 
tively at the little pale face, whose delicate 
outline stood clear against the blue sky, as 
they rode alor^g the uplands to the north of 
the castle. He wondered what was passing 
in her mind, and, evidently, the question 
fretted him. Her love for the home of her 
childhood, which was not his home, roused 
some of that jealousy that we have already 
remarked as one of the strongest of Koger's 
characteristics. 

Her loving recollection of her uncle and 
aunt was a tacit reproach of his own neglect. 
And now that he had at last chosen to bring 
his daughter home, and condescended to 
care for her and really to love her it was 
only consistent with his nature that he 
should at once lay claim to all her affections, 
that he should ignore the past, and expect 
as much from Teresa in return for his 
tardily-bestowed affection, as if he had 



312 THE BUCKLYX SHAIG. 

always taught her to bask in its warmth ; 
but his moodiness was lost upon Teresa : she 
rode silently by his side, ruminating the 
past, calling to mind Lady Clifford's intense 
Italian endearments, her uncle's indulgent 
ways, her bright little cousin, and the sweet 
harmony of domestic peace, demonstrative 
affection^ and unaffected piety that had per- 
vaded the whole house. 

The contrast between that and her own 
house struck her forcibly. Certainly it was 
very melancholy — a young, solitary girl, 
and a moody father absorbed in his books, 
or in his gloomy thoughts — fond of her, it 
is true, but betraying selfishness even in his 
love. Already it seemed to her a long time 
since she had been living the monotonous 
life of Raymond Castle, and no break had 
come, no new sympathies, no fresh hopes ; 
at least, so it seemed to her. If we could 
have heard Mrs. Brown's account of the 
matter we should have found that others 
were conscious of an improvement which 
escaped the observation of her who had 
caused it. Mr. Clifford's domestics found 



THE ANGEL OF THE HOUSE. 313 

liim less severe, less exacting. The neigh- 
bouring poor were astonished to find that 
" up at the castle " there were certain days 
when their wants were supplied, and some 
of tlie good things in the larder and kitchen 
found their way to the cottages, much as 
was the case " down at the hall " when " my 
lady " was at home. 

Mr. Yincenzo was perhaps about the only 
person who did not appreciate the differ- 
ence. He found his master had become 
more independent of him. One of the foot- 
men had been specially deputed to wait on 
Miss Teresa, and answer her sitting-room 
bell; and, somehow or other, it happened 
that when Mr. Clifford wanted anything he 
generally contrived to go to his daughter's 
room, and there ring for the servant, and 
thus avoided having so much of the presence 
of Vincenzo. Also, he would have his 
daughter to sit with him when he was 
dressing for dinner, and her presence was a 
good excuse for sending the valet out of the 
room to wait in the passage till he was 
wanted. All this was not at all to Mr. Vin- 

VOL. I. Y 



314 THE BUCKLYN SHAIG. 

cenzo's mind. He sulked about it a good 
deal to himself, while his manner was more 
oily than ever to his master. Meanwhile, 
he endeavoured to indemnify himself for 
what he chose to consider Mr. Clifford's 
ingratitude by organizing a few more little 
peculations, and managing to insert his 
finger in numerous domestic pies that were 
not originally cooked for his benefit, and 
had nothing to do with his natural depart- 
ment. 

When Teresa and her father entered from 
their drive^ Teresa walked straight through 
the hall up-stairs without a word. As she 
passed along she heard Yincenzo, who had 
met them at the door, say to her father : 

" Eccellenza, the post has come in, and 
there are letters from Italy." She heard 
the sound of the words, but they awoke no 
reflection, and, absorbed in thought, she 
went to her room to change her habit, and 
read till dinner-time. 



LONDON : PRIKTED BV WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET 
AND CHABING CROSS.